Putin, Bush & Kyoto

Vladimir Putin certainly is an interesting fellow.

Recently, for example, in a move widely seen as isolating to President Bush, Putin announced he would send the Kyoto global warming treaty to the Russian Duma for ratification.

A Putin-Bush split? Not so fast. Putin made statements Monday that have widely been seen as a virtual endorsement of President Bush’s re-election.

So are Bush and Putin on the same page, or off it?

Canadian scientist Dr. Tim Ball appears to lean toward the former. In a letter published in the October 18 (Canadian) National Post, Dr. Ball writes, in part:

Vladimir Putin may not be in favor of Kyoto at all… By referring the treaty to the State Duma lower house, the ex-KGB spy may very well have set up a situation where Kyoto can still be killed without having to take the blame himself.

In fact, there is strong opposition in the Russian parliament to the protocol and Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has already predicted tough Duma battles ahead.

Certainly the Duma would have plenty of high profile support if they rejected Kyoto. Besides the April, 2004, conclusion of the Duma’s committees for ecology, the economy and international affairs that “Ratification is inexpedient given the U.S. pullout and the non-participation of many countries …”, climate experts across Russia and around the world have spoken out loudly against Kyoto on scientific grounds.

So, Putin sends Kyoto to the Duma who eventually reject it. Putin then sorrowfully explains, “I did my best but in a democracy you can’t overrule the people.”

…I hope this is Putin’s plan. Kyoto is an enormous mistake and Russia would be doing the world an important service by killing it for good.

Addendum (10/22/04): It look like Dr. Ball was a bit too optimistic.

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