Russia's deputy prime minister has told senior Kremlin officials the lower house of parliament will consider ratifying the Kyoto environmental pact later this month.

Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov said Monday that government officials have already begun negotiations with Duma members, who must approve legislation providing for Russian ratification.

President Vladimir Putin's cabinet approved the pact last week, setting the stage for the legislative vote.

The 1997 protocol aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and factories, which many scientists say are a major cause of global warming.

To go into force, the agreement must be ratified by countries accounting for 55 percent of those emissions. The United States has rejected the Kyoto protocol. Russia's approval would allow it to take effect worldwide.