Russia has yet to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on reducing carbon emissions in order to combat global warming, and there is concern that it may continue to do so as a result of the activities of a relatively small group of high-level objectors.
After the United States pulled out of negotiations on the protocol in 2001, endorsement by Russia, which produces 17.5 per cent of global emissions, is needed for the treaty to generate sufficient international support to come into force. So far, however, the Russian government has used the treaty primarily as a negotiating tool.
Quirin Schiermeier and Bryon MacWilliams report on Russia's unusual situation. The Russian government, unlike Europe and the United States, is under little pressure from its scientific community to take steps to prevent global warming. This silence has left the door open to a small, vocal group of members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, who appear keen to emphasise the risks of actions that could damage the country's economy.