Saturday, May 10, 2008

Russia: What a Scam We Have in Carbon, part II

This is probably the biggest dollar post of the week.
New readers may want to take a look at part I, link below.
From Reuters:

Russia may hold on to emission rights: expert
Russia may decide to hold onto its greenhouse gas emissions rights under the Kyoto Protocol, at least until the details of a successor treaty are clearer, a Russian expert said.

The United Nations' Kyoto Protocol allows industrialized countries to meet greenhouse gas targets by buying emissions rights from each other or from clean energy projects in developing nations.

One controversial scheme under the agreement allows industrialized countries which are comfortably below their emissions targets to sell the difference to other industrialized nations, in a trade which is not necessarily related to any emissions cuts.

According to available data, Russia may have more than 800 million tonnes of carbon dioxide rights, called Assigned Amount Units (AAUs), to sell at the end of Kyoto's first commitment period (2008-2012).

This is more than the estimated AAU demand of every other Kyoto signatory country combined.

Alexander Khanykov, head of Russian clean energy project developers Carbon Project Group, told Reuters on Friday that he believes Russia will save most of its AAUs past 2012 instead of selling them and possibly flooding an already precarious carbon market....MORE

Get that? They are postponing doing anything about their emissions now, because they think the credits will be worth more down the road! Those leaky old Gazprom pipes are a bargaining chip for $30 to $60 Billion dollars. Or nothing, if the Europeans quit the game (just a thought).

It's like an International Grand Master playing a bright ten year old. The Americans lobbied for, and the Europeans aquiesed to, after horse-trading, this carbon trading confection at Kyoto.

The Russians come along, take a look at the board, see the endgame, make the move and get back to deciding where to have lunch.

Odds are that they'll politely thank you for the game as they get up to go to the restaurant. Maybe offer to play again, should you desire to do so.

Here's one of the links from "What a Scam We Have In Carbon":

"I don't know if climate change is caused by burning coal or sun flares or what," said the Moscow-based carbon cowboy. "And I don't really give a shit. Russia is the most energy inefficient country around, and carbon is the most volatile market ever. There's a lot of opportunity to make money."

-From "The Bored Whore of Kyoto"