Russia Friday secured a deal with the European Union on terms for its entry into the World Trade Organization and immediately rewarded the bloc by promising to back a worldwide environmental pact.This is essentially what I predicted would happen back in October, though Anders Åslund did better. He even had the details of the swap correct in mid-April. Åslund said then that the deal would occur either April 22 or May 21 -- and he noted that gas prices would figure into the specific pact:
An EU statement after the signature of the deal said Russia had agreed to gradually raise domestic gas prices for industrial users to pave the way for WTO membership -- rising by a third or even a half by 2006 and doubling by 2010.Bingo!
Putin, of course, gave himself some wiggle room on Kyoto, in case there's a delay in Russia's entry to the WTO:
"This cannot but have a positive effect on our position on the Kyoto protocol. We will speed up Russia's moves toward ratifying the protocol. ... We clearly set out our position on Kyoto long ago. We are for the Kyoto process and we support it."Still, it looks like this is a done deal and this means Kyoto will soon be international law -- and the US will be a notable outlier.
"I cannot say how things will be 100 percent, because ratification is not an issue for the president but for parliament, but we will speed up this process," said Putin, who toughly controls the Russian legislature.
Hopefully, Kerry will find some time to talk about energy and climate change this summer. Bush is vulnerable on the environment.