Kyoto Treaty becomes legally binding on February 16

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November 18 2004, Nairobi. The United Nations has announced that the Kyoto Treaty, which its signatories claim will counter the greenhouse effect and global climate changes, will take effect on February 16, 2005.

The treaty could not be made legally binding to those countries who signed it earlier, the BBC reports, because they did not make up for the required 55% of the world's emission of greenhouse gases. Last month, Russia announced they would sign the treaty, pushing that percentage to 55%. Andrei Denisov, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, handed Kofi Annan the official papers today.

Several industrialized nations around the world have refused to ratify the Kyoto Treaty, in particular the United States of America and Australia. The governments of both countries argue that signing the protocol would cause an estimated 3% decline in GDP, and thus stagnation of their economies, while resulting in only small total greenhouse gas reductions worldwide. The also point out that other major nations, notably China, are extempt from the treaty provisions.