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On the penultimate day of the United Nations' climate talks, hundreds of delegates commemorated the sixth birthday of the Kyoto protocol on climate change — but no one was quite sure whether it was a jubilee or a funeral.

The subdued atmosphere at the ninth meeting of the Parties to the UN Climate Change Convention (COP9) in Milan, Italy, was partly due to speculation that Russia may not ratify the treaty, meaning that it will not come into force.

But there was also some good news for those in Milan. Some technical details of the protocol were finalised, such as a scheme in which industrialised countries can acquire emissions credits for financing land-use projects that absorb carbon. And the European Union also pledged €400 million per year from 2005 to help poorer countries adapt to climate change, for example by improving flood protection or irrigation.

Link to full news story in Nature 

Reference: Nature 426, 742 (2003)