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Russia may ratify Kyoto this year

MOSCOW, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Russia may ratify the Kyoto Protocol to fight global warming before the end of the year, a top government official has said.

"It won't take the State Duma long to discuss this issue. There is a possibility that the State Duma will discuss the Kyoto Protocol as early as October," Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov told a Moscow press conference, the Moscow Times reported this weekend. The State Duma is the main chamber of the Russian parliament.

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From 2005, Russia intends to begin negotiations with other signatory nations to the Kyoto Protocol on the conditions of participation in the second stage of its implementation from 2012 onward, Zhukov said.

The Kyoto Protocol seeks to limit the amount of carbon-based "greenhouse" gases that are emitted into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels. Russian critics have charged that its restrictions would severely damage Russia's economic growth prospects.

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