NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 30, 2008

Russia, the world's No. 3 greenhouse gas emitter behind China and the United States, ratified the current United Nations Kyoto Protocol in 2004, only after years of debate about whether to take on targets for greenhouse gas emissions.  Now, according to an official Russian document, Moscow doubts carbon trading can solve climate change because recent swings in stock and commodities prices show markets are unable to fix global problems.

The document, outlining Russian views on a new UN climate pact meant to be agreed upon in December 2009, also expressed skepticism about tough international targets for greenhouse gases.  Researchers concluded that:

  • Market approaches are one of the effective means to reduce costs of curbing emissions, but not a panacea in tackling climate change.
  • The latest events in the global stock market and food markets show that we have not entered yet an era when the global market can become a reliable regulative mechanism for international efforts to answer global challenges of mankind.
  • It is unreasonable to set a collective range for reduction of emissions for a group of countries; cuts could help avert droughts, heat waves, species extinctions and rising sea levels

However, researchers did reaffirm support for world cuts in greenhouse gases of 50 percent by 2050, but say any new period of the Kyoto Protocol, now running to 2012, should be "flexible" and "should not be punitive."

Source: Alister Doyle, "Russia doubts market can fix climate change," Reuters, October 16, 2008.

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