Russia's upper house of parliament has overwhelmingly ratified the Kyoto protocol on combating global warming, clearing the way for making the international treaty legally binding.

Today's (Wednesday's) approval paves the way for President Vladimir Putin to sign the deal, and notify the United Nations of its ratification. Russia's lower house (the Duma) approved the Kyoto protocol on Friday.

The international pact created in 1997 required ratification by industrialized countries accounting for 55 percent of the emissions that cause global warming. Russia's approval brings it past that mark, despite the United States' rejection of the protocol.

The Kyoto protocol requires industrialized states to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 percent from 1990 levels in the next eight years, and penalizes those that fail to meet targets.