Moscow, Russia – As the World Conference on Climate Change approaches, WWF is urging Russia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol within the year. The Kyoto Protocol is the world's only international treaty to combat climate change and global warming. Only Russia's ratification is needed for the Protocol to become international law. For the past two years, Russian ratification has been bogged down in bureaucracy, preventing the Protocol from coming into force. This has meant that signatory states have not been legally bound internationally to their obligations to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the main global warming gas. “President Putin has to decide if he wants to be climate killer number two after George Bush or if he wants to be on the side of the 'angels'," said Jennifer Morgan, Director of WWF Climate Change Programme. "One hundred eighteen countries have ratified and are just waiting for Russia to pull the switch. They should not be held captive any longer.” WWF believes that President Putin and members of the Russian government have used a series of stalling tactics to delay the submission of the ratification bill to Parliament, including an attempt to link ratification to Russia’s accession to the WTO. The Russian Minister for Economic Development and Trade German Gref is refusing to let the process go to the Russian Parliament to enable Members of Parliament to ratify the Protocol. “These tactics are a scandal and an embarrassment for Russia,” said Alexey Kokorin of WWF-Russia’s Climate Change Programme. “Not sending the ratification bill to Parliament is holding up the world’s progress on fighting climate change. The Russian Parliament must ratify before this year ends.” Russia had promised that by the start of the World Conference on Climate Change it would have ratified the Protocol. It is now understood that ratification is not even on the conference’s agenda and therefore is not a decisive meeting for ratification. Russia is not only letting down the world but also itself -- if Russia continues to stall, climate change impacts such as flooding in the North Caucasus region and in Lensk City in Siberia, increased permafrost melting, and the expansion of “southern” diseases such as malaria will only get worse. "The so-called World Conference on Climate Change has been down-scaled to a purely scientific meeting," said Jennifer Morgan. "It is of no importance for the Russian ratification process but should be used by international voices to send a clear message to Putin: ratify now!" For further information: Alexey Kokorin WWF-Russia Climate Change Programme Tel. +7 916 567 26 65 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Martin Hiller WWF International Climate Change Programme Tel. +41 22 3649226 E-mail: email@example.com NOTES: •In order for the Kyoto Protocol to enter into force, 55 Parties – including parties accounting for 55 per cent of that group’s carbon dioxide emissions in 1990 – have to ratify. The Protocol has been ratified by 118 countries to date, including 32 industrialized countries representing 44.2 per cent of 1990 emissions. Only Russia’s ratification would trigger entry into force, since the US, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has rejected the Kyoto Protocol, choosing instead to implement its own domestic measures. •The World Conference on Climate Change will convene 1,200 experts from 43 countries in Moscow between September 29 and October 3.