Doh! Russia requires bribe guarantee

Posted by bobbapink on Mar 29, 2002 at 10:35

Russia may drag feet on Kyoto

Russia may delay ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming until after this autumn if Japan does not agree to buy emission credits, high-ranking Russian government officials said Tuesday.

The officials asked that Japan and European Union countries promise to buy carbon dioxide emission credits from Russia as a condition for its ratification of the treaty, suggesting Russia's concern it will not be able to sell its emission credits to the United States, as that country has already dropped out of the agreement.

The possible delay of Russia's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol will likely make it impossible for the treaty to come into effect before the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which will be held in South Africa from August to September, the time Japan and other countries want the pact to come into effect.

Speaking to The Yomiuri Shimbun, Vsevolod Gavrilov, head of the natural resource department at the Russian Economic Development and Trade Ministry, said Tuesday, "We will try to ratify the pact within a year, but we cannot make it by the time the World Summit on Sustainable Development is held."

The director added, "We can't accept selling the credits cheaply to the EU," in regard to the sale of carbon dioxide emission credits. Russia is seen to have sufficient room to meet its emission reduction targets.

Aleksander Popov, head of environmental department at the country's Fuel and Energy Ministry, told The Yomiuri Shimbun on Tuesday: "It will depend on how Japan responds. If we cannot secure buyers (for our carbon dioxide emission credits), it will be meaningless," suggesting that Russia will not hurry to ratify the pact until it can secure a way to make up for the gap caused by the withdrawal of the United States from the pact.

For the Kyoto Protocol to come into effect, it must be ratified by more than 55 countries, and the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions from industrialized countries ratifying the protocol must exceed 55 percent of the total amount of gasses emitted by all industrialized nations in 1990, making ratification by Russia, as well as Japan and EU countries, necessary for the pact to come into force.

Once this requirement is met, the protocol will come into force after 90 days.


Japan needs reduction help

Meanwhile in Tokyo, the Japanese government, which has been aiming for the pact to come into effect by the time the World Summit of Sustainable Development is held, voiced concerns over Russia's announcement that ratification of the treaty may be delayed.

"We will take necessary procedures as scheduled," Kazuyoshi Okazawa, chief of the Global Environment Bureau of the Environment Ministry, said Wednesday, emphasizing that the government will do its best to get the Diet to approve the ratification by early June.

However, observers said that Russia's attempt to gain a promise from Japan to buy Russia's emission credits before agreeing to sign the protocol is taking advantage of Japan's situation. Japan is not likely to meet its reduction targets by domestic means.

It is believed that Russia intends to try to sell the emission credits at high prices.

However, EU countries do not plan to buy emission credits from non-EU countries and it is likely that Japan will become the sole buyer of Russia's emission credits.

In the government's recently compiled outline for global warming measures, it seeks to meet the reduction obligation by buying foreign credits, making buying them from Russia a virtual necessity.

However, the protocol stipulates that the sale of the credits should be carried out under free market principles in order to keep the motivation for reduction for high.

"It is impossible to guarantee the purchase of what should be determined by supply and demand," Okazawa said, suggesting that negotiations between Japan and Russia will face a rough road ahead.


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