Russia formally accepts 2015 Paris climate accord

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.

The same resolution said Russia would not technically ratify the accord however due to a legal nuance. Mr. 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.

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. “And any regulatory measures that are drawn up will have to take into consideration our national interests as much as possible,” he said.