To Russia, With Love
As delegates from 150 nations gather in Bonn, Germany, this week to hammer out some details on the Kyoto climate change agreement, Russia is pushing for a system that would allow it to sell permits for carbon dioxide emissions. Under Kyoto, Russia is supposed to maintain its CO2 emissions at 1990 levels, but the post-Soviet economic decline has meant the country is producing 40 percent fewer emissions than in 1990 and it believes it could trade the rights to emit between 1 billion and 3.5 billion tons of CO2. Such trades could produce a $40 billion windfall for the country, twice the amount it has so far received in financial aid from the International Monetary Fund. The U.S. is siding with Russia in pushing for unlimited emissions trading, while the European Union wants trade to be capped so that nations would reduce their emissions at home.