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Russian ratification essential for Kyoto protocol: Italian minister

Xinhuanet 2003-06-26 04:56:40

  ROME, June 25 (Xinhuanet) -- Russia's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is of fundamental importance to Europe's stance on the issue of environmental defense, Italy's Environment Minister Altero Matteoli declared here Wednesday.

  Matteoli made his comments while presenting his ministry's program for Italy's six-month presidency of the European Union, which gets underway on July 1.

  "If Russia fails to ratify the protocol, everything will have to be reconsidered," he said, adding however that it seemed willing to take that step.

  Matteoli explained he had consequently set up a cooperation program with Russian Energy Ministry, geared towards financing energy projects in the former Soviet Union that would boost efficiency and reduce emissions.

  The Kyoto Protocol requires industrialized nations to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide from cars and industry, which are believed to be responsible for global warming. Before it can be implemented, it must be ratified by at least 55 countries responsible for 55 percent of the world's 1990 emissions.

  The Italian environment minister also said he was "happily surprised" at the "enthusiasm for Europe" he noted during recent meetings with the 10 future EU members, which will join the bloc next year.

  Meanwhile, Matteoli declared that Italy's six-month EU presidency would highlight business opportunities offered by the environment. He revealed that eight environmental events were planned for the coming months, focusing on a range of topics, including energy, the Mediterranean, and the environmental and economic integration between member states. Enditem 

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