LONDON (UK) – Protesters, demanding that Russia ratifies the Kyoto Protocol, will greet in London on Thursday June 26 Tony Blair and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, as they open a high level energy conference. [1]

Protesters will carry banners, in English and Russian, saying:

“Ratify Kyoto Now!”

“Don’t sink the climate treaty!”

“Bush – NO! Kyoto – YES!”

Four months ago, today (Tuesday – 24/6/03), Tony Blair called for a“concerted international effort” to fight climate change, which he said was “unquestionably the most urgent environmental challenge” [2]. The Kyoto Protocol is the only international treaty that will cut the pollution causing it. Russian ratification would mean Kyoto would enter into force [3].

Protestors are calling on Mr Blair to put pressure on Mr. Putin to announce a fixed date by which Russia will ratify Kyoto. The agenda for the conference centres around exploiting Russia’s large gas reserves, which Europe and the UK need to replace coal. However Russia also has large oil and coal reserves and without Kyoto in place environmentalists fear Russian and UK collaboration will be disastrous for the environment. Oil giant BP is already said to be buying a 50 per cent stake in Russia’s third largest oil company, TNK. [4]

Friends of the Earth Climate Campaigner Bryony Worthington in London commented:

“Just four months ago, Tony Blair called for a concerted international effort to combat climate change. President Putin’s visit to Britain is a great opportunity for Blair to urge him to set a date by which Russia will ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Without this international climate change agreement in place there should be no deals between the UK and Russia to exploit its fossil fuel reserves.”


In London, Bryony Worthington, Friends of the Earth: +44-207-5661672 or +44-7876-130352 (mobile)


[1] The “Russia-UK Energy Conference – Long Term Partners” is organised by the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Keynote Speakers include Vladimir Putin, President, Russian Federation; The Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, Prime Minister, United Kingdom; Alexei Miller, Chief Executive, Gazprom; Sir Philip Watts, Chairman of the Committee of Managing Directors, Royal Dutch/Shell Group; Robert Dudley, Group Vice President for Russia, BP plc and John Martin, Managing Director and Head, Integrated Energy Europe, ABN AMRO. It is taking place at Lancaster House, London.

[2] 10 Downing Street (24 February 2003) “PM: ‘Concerted international effort necessary to fight climate change”

[3] Kyoto has now been ratified by over 100 countries, including the UK. To become binding, it needs to be ratified by countries representing 55% of industrialised country emissions. Now that the US, the world’s biggest polluter, has rejected Kyoto, its entry into force depends on Russia. President Putin and members of the Russian government have promised to ratify it, but haven’t submitted the necessary documents to the Russian parliament.

[4] “Vladimir Putin makes first historic visit to Britain – first Russian state visit since Romanovs”. from Reuters 23 June 2003. and “Oil major BP will finalize an agreement to buy a 50 percent stake in No. 3 oil firm TNK”