Summit in Johannesburg. Crumbs for the poor - 4 September, 2002 - News

Russia wants to sell its gas emission quotas

The World Summit on Sustainable Development is finishing its work in Johannesburg today. Media outlets lost their interest in the summit two days after it began. Ecologists claimed that the summit was a celebration of selfishness and greediness. As it was expected, the large summit did not solve any of the world's problems. The heads of almost 100 countries of the world failed to come to consent on how to relieve the world from hunger, poverty, illnesses, and the total pollution of the environment. The Russian leadership managed to concoct how to save the world's ecology and earn money for the country's budget.

Many public organizations (Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF and others) have already announced that the summit in Johannesburg failed. Oxfam released a statement in which the organization said that the results of the forum were simply “crumbs for the poor.” The organization called the summit "a triumph of greed and self-interest, a tragedy for poor people and the environment." However, Russian leaders Vladimir Putin and Premier Mikhail Kasyanov managed to revive the dull atmosphere of the forum. They promised that the deputies of the Russian State Duma would ratify the so-called Kyoto protocol.

Vladimir Putin unexpectedly said in his conversation with German President Johannes Rau that there are a lot of forests in Russia. Putin added that these forests are having a sanitary influence on the ecology of the planet. Then Putin stated that Russia was about to sign the Kyoto protocol. Mikhail Kasyanov confirmed this news in Johannesburg today. The Russian prime minister declared that Russia had decreased its emissions of industrial gases into the atmosphere. However, Kasyanov did not mention that this was only due to the fact of the very strong economic recession in the country. Furthermore, Kasyanov invited everyone present to continue the discussion of ecological issues in Moscow.

Vladimir Putin stated that the World Conference would be devoted to the issues of climate changes. The participants of the summit were really happy about Russia's position on the matter.

Experts believe that the Russian delegation can save the Kyoto protocol to a certain extent. The Kyoto protocol became a useless piece of paper after the USA refused to ratify this document in the spring of last year. The share of American gas emissions into the atmosphere makes up 36%. If Russia ratifies the document, then the members of the agreement will be able to overcome the limit of 55% on those who signed it. If this happens, the protocol becomes valid.

They say that the ratification of the protocol will lead to considerable financial profit for Russia. Pursuant to the terms of the Kyoto protocol,industrially developed countries are supposed to reduce their emissions of industrial gases by five percent during the period from 2008 to 2012. In 1990, Russia was emitting 17.4% of the world’s entire volume of carbon dioxide. The share of the European Union was 24.2%, while Japan’s was 8.5%, and about ten percent was emitted by other countries.

However, according to the special annex to the Kyoto protocol, Russia is categorized as a country with transitional economy. Countries with transitional economies are not supposed to exceed the level of emission of 1990. The Russian Ministry for Economic Development came to conclusion that the level of Russia’s emission would be on the level of 80% in comparison with 1990. This level will be preserved for quite some time if the dynamics of the Russian economy remains as it is now. Therefore, Russia may not spend a lot of money on expensive environmental programs.

In addition to that, the annex allows a country that ratified the protocol to sell its unused quotas on harmful discharge to other countries. Several countries of the European Union have already evinced great interest in Russian quotas on the environmental pollution. Quotas can also be saved and carried over to the future. If quotas are not sold, then they can be moved to those years, when industrial progress might happen in Russia (according to economic forecasts).

Scientists calculated that up to 98% of all industrial discharge in Russia is formed as a result of coal, gas and petroleum burning. This means that, if Russia improves its energy-saving indexes, then the country will be able to decrease its volume of its gas emissions. After that, it will be possible for Russia to sell more of its unused quotas.

Akhtyam Akhtyrov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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