September 23, 2019 / 12:52 PM / 22 days ago

Russia gives definitive approval to Paris climate accord

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said it would implement the 2015 Paris Agreement to fight climate change after Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday approved a government resolution signifying Moscow’s final acceptance of the deal.

Russia's Prime Minister and Chairman of the United Russia political party Dmitry Medvedev visits a regional branch of the party in Saint Petersburg, Russia September 9, 2019. Sputnik/Ekaterina Shtukina/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

The same resolution said Russia would not technically ratify the accord however due to a legal nuance. Medvedev said Moscow would adapt the accord to existing legal norms. It was unclear what, if any, the legal implications of failing to technically ratify the pact were.

Russia is the world’s fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases and the biggest emitter not to have ratified the landmark global climate deal.

In Monday’s government resolution, Russia said it did not need to ratify the agreement because Moscow had already undertaken to honour its commitments when it signed the deal in April 2016.

The government resolution was signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and dated Sept. 21.

Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Gordeyev said it was important for Russia to be part of the Paris accord so that it had a voice when it came to deciding any new measures to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

“We get the chance to fully participate in shaping the modern global climate agenda,” said Gordeyev. “And any regulatory measures that are drawn up will have to take into consideration our national interests as much as possible.”

He said that legislation aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions had already been drawn up by the economy ministry and that he expected it to be adopted this year.

Medvedev said Russia had a lot of work to do if it was to transform its economy into a low-carbon one.

“It’s important and useful but demands quite significant investment,” Medvedev said of the Paris accord. “So this problem is quite closely linked with our economic development.”

Russia has previously expressed disappointment over a decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to pull Washington from the Paris pact, but said it still regards the accord as important despite the U.S. absence.

Reporting by Anton Kolodyazhnyy and Maxim Rodionov; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn

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