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Russia has no plans to sell emission quotas - Kremlin

MOSCOW, December 11 (RIA Novosti)-Russia currently has no plans to sell its greenhouse gas emission quotas, the Kremlin climate change adviser told reporters on Friday.

Russia has been in the center of discussions on quota trade under the Kyoto Protocol as the UN climate change conference underway in Copenhagen has so far failed to produce a new plan to fight global warming.

"As far as I know, there are no plans to sell emission quotas," Alexander Bedritsky said.

It is feared that Russia, which has an enormous reserve of unspent quotas, may decide to sell them causing the market to collapse and wrecking efforts against climate change.

National quotas were established by the Kyoto Protocol on the basis of the 1990 emission levels, before the Soviet breakup and subsequent economic slowdown.

Russian experts have dismissed the threat. None of the more than 100 quota deals proposed by Russian enterprises has received final government approval due to excessive red tape, a need to invest in environmental projects and the focus on oil and natural gas as the main source of revenue, experts said.

Bedritsky said Russia will focus on projects with industrialized countries under which Russia would exchange emission quotas for investment. "The decision has been made, I hope the projects will go ahead," he said.

Russia was reported to have 6 billion metric tons of unspent carbon dioxide quotas, and its enterprises are still emitting less greenhouse gases than in 1990.

Speaking about the Copenhagen conference, Bedtritsky said it was unlikely to yield a legally binding agreement, echoing other Russian experts' forecasts.

"A political agreement will be signed in Copenhagen, but there will not be a legally binding document," Bedritsky said.

The Kyoto Protocol, a legally binding agreement restricting carbon emissions, expires in 2012. A new deal is needed to continue efforts beyond 2012.

Differences between developed and developing economies at the UN-sponsored conference have been exacerbated by accusations that climate researchers may have hidden evidence downplaying the impact of greenhouse gases on human health and the environment.

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