Russia will refuse to give up any of its surplus emissions rights under climate pact talks.
Russian climate negotiator Sergey Tulinov today said his country would
not discuss moves to give up over 6 billion surplus emissions rights at
the Copenhagen climate summit next month.
Under the Kyoto protocol Russia can hold on to these emissions rights, known as assigned amount units (AAUs), after 2012.
But the EU and green groups say banking of AAUs beyond the expiry of
the current Kyoto phase in 2012 will weaken aggregate cuts being
offered by other industrialised countries.
“We will not discuss these emissions rights here or in Copenhagen,”
Tulinov told a side event in Barcelona at the end of a week of
preparatory UN talks.
“Let’s agree some future framework and we will come to this issue,” he said, without specifying what that framework should be.
The EU will ask Russia to clarify its position on surplus emissions
rights – which can be sold as offsets to developed countries to help
them meet targets – at a high level summit later this month.
Last month, the Russian government asked its largest bank to prepare
guidelines on how up to 100 million AAUs could be sold by the end of
So far Russia has held off from selling any of its surplus.
Russia has an excess of AAUs because the amount of climate changing
gases it pumps into the atmosphere is currently 30 per cent below 1990
levels versus a Kyoto target to freeze emissions from 1990 through
The country’s lower emissions are a result of a collapse of its industry following the fall of communism in the early 1990s.
Russia – the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas emitter – is desperate to keep hold of these potentially lucrative rights.
AAUs currently fetch between €5-10 each in international markets – and
they can be used to cover Russia against any increase in its future
Earlier this year, Russia’s president said he was prepared to cut emissions 10-15 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.
The Russian surplus could have a huge impact on global carbon markets,
and is being used as leverage in global negotiations, said Alexey
Kokorin, an analyst of Russian climate policy for green group WWF.
“AAUs are a powerful bargaining chip,” he said.
To negate the impact on global markets or rich country pledges to cut
emissions, nations could establish a non-tradable reserve of emissions
rights, participants at the side event suggested.
Anna Korppoo, a specialist on
Russia’s climate policy with the Finnish Institute of International
Affairs, said surplus emissions rights were bound to be discussed at
She said: “The surplus threatens the environmental integrity of
developed country pledges. It’s hard to see that the issue could be
avoided if the Copenhagen talks manage to make progress on targets.”