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