§ Mr. Peter Ainsworth
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the implications for UK environment policy of the statement made by the Russian authorities on 2 December on the Kyoto Protocol. 
§ Mr. Morley [holding answer 8 December 2003]
The Government believe that the Kyoto Protocol, with its binding targets and timetables, is an essential first step in international action to tackle climate change, though of course much greater cuts in greenhouse gasses will be needed.
President Putin stated at the World Conference on Climate Change in Moscow in early October that the Russian Government was still analysing the economic implications of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. The statement made by President Putin's economic adviser on 2 December does not appear to be an official statement of policy, and we look forward to a decision from the Russian Government when they have completed their assessment of the Kyoto Protocol.
The Secretary of State and I are attending the ninth Conference of the Parties on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Milan, where Parties will be putting the finishing touches on preparations for entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol.