In the end, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided that he did not want to condemn Russia to perpetual poverty.
At the U.N. World Climate change Conference, held in Moscow September 29–October 3, Putin’s government shocked the global warming crowd by announcing that Russia did not intend to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Even worse for the climate scaremongers, Russian scientists one after another attacked the notion that there was anything like a “scientific consensus” on whether the earth was heating up and, if so, what to do about it.
Russia was originally thought to be a shoe-in. After all, the Kyoto Protocol was designed to strong-arm developed countries into reducing carbon dioxide emission levels to those seen in 1990. Russia, a country whose industry had collapsed following the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. was releasing far less carbon dioxide than it had a decade earlier. Under a scheme to buy and sell carbon dioxide “emissions credits,” Russia would be able to sell its excess emissions credits to developed countries (read: the United States) that would not be able to meet their own targets. Russia would be able to profit from the West’s humming factories — as long as her own stood idle.
All that would be required is that Russia accept a permanent state of stagnation and dependence. In the harsh assessment of Putin’s chief economic advisor, Andrei Illarionov, “Considering that the Kyoto Protocol is restricting economic growth, we must say it straight that it means dooming the country to poverty, backwardness, and weakness.”
President Putin instead opted for an ambitious program of economic development that would double Russia’s gross domestic product by 2010, and sees no reason to handicap his economy by signing on to a moribund treaty.
Russian scientists also called into question the environmental myths underlying the Kyoto Treaty. Yuri Izrael, who served as conference chairman, expressed his skepticism at the outset: “A1l the scientific evidence seems to support the same general conclusions, that the Kyoto Protocol is … based on bad science.” Kirill Kondratyev, a global climate change expert with the Russian Academy of Sciences, pooh-poohed predictions of an impending apocalypse brought on by man’s activities and numbers as “inaccurate … and contrary to the opinions held by most scientists.” “The only people who would be hurt by abandoning the Kyoto Protocol,” he went on to say, “would be several thousand people who make a living attending conferences on global warming.”
Many of these environmental hustlers, of course, were sitting in the conference hall as he spoke, exhaling volumes of carbon dioxide as they listened in stunned silence. Putin has effectively exiled the Kyoto Protocol on global warning to the Siberian Deep Freeze, May it languish there forever.