Russia's Cabinet approved the Kyoto Protocol on global warming today, clearing the way for the worldwide adoption of the document once the Russian parliament ratifies it as expected.
The protocol must be ratified by at least 55 countries that accounted for at least 55 percent of global emissions in 1990. Russia's approval would tip the scale.
The United States and some other big industrial nations have rejected the treaty, which seeks to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, widely seen as a key factor in global warming.
In May, President Vladimir Putin pledged to speed up approval in return for European Union support of Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization. Many of his advisers have opposed, arguing that joining would stymie economic growth.
A government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the ratification bill would be submitted soon to the lower house of parliament, or State Duma, so it can be ratified before the end of the year. The Duma is dominated by the Kremlin-directed United Russia party, and approval is almost certain.