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18 Dec, 2009 15:17

Russian carbon credits not on the table as global deal hangs in the balance

Negotiators from around 200 countries worked towards an agreement on pollution controls at the climate summit in Denmark. While developing countries hope for subsidies, others had their eye on business opportunities.

Last minute bargaining – by the two largest polluters, China and the US – left any agreement on carbon controls hanging in the balance. Russia, even though it's a major oil and gas producer, is a strong supporter of trading schemes

It still holds carbon credits – which give permission to pollute – from the previous Kyoto climate protocol – worth billions of dollars.

But China and the US never ratified Kyoto. This time supporters, including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, say all countries should sign up.

“By the end of the first phase of the Kyoto protocol – by 2012 – we should have a more complete and effective mechanism. It should be universal and be based on principles of justice and common responsibility. It should be diversified responsibility depending on the state of development of the country.”

As emerging economies Russia, China, and Brazil are seen as crucial players in climate negotiations. Russia has the largest carbon credits.

These were based on the level of pollution in 1990 – but falling production has cut Russia's emissions by 30%. But Hawk Sunshine from IFC Metropol believes Russia isn’t looking to sell carbon credits

“I have not sensed a lot of interest from the Russian side to participate in this. Russia is one of the largest holders of carbon credits and as I know Russia has no will for selling this credit.”

Currently only 1 per cent of Russia's energy comes from wind and hydro power, along with solar panels and other renewable sources.

But without an agreement on compulsory cuts in emissions – the UN talks in Copenhagen will not give green energy much of a boost.