Russia and the Kyoto protocol: Seeking an alignment of interests and image

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On November 5, 2004, the Russian Federation ratified the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, effectively saving the treaty. Battling domestic interests, in which a majority of pro-Kyoto voices were countered by a small but powerful minority of Kyoto opponents, had little influence on the decision due to the centralized institutional environment in Russia which allows the President great autonomy in foreign policy. President Putin ratified the treaty because Russia would likely gain leverage in other international negotiations and contribute to an image of itself as a good member of the club of advanced industrialized states. He delayed ratification to clarify evidence about gains versus losses from Kyoto provisions and to secure concessions from other Kyoto ratifiers in other international negotiations. Existing implementation efforts are slow but indicate that Russia's strategy will emphasize maximizing profits through treaty mechanisms over maximizing emissions reductions. © 2007 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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