By the end of January, Guenter Verheungen, the European Enlargement Commissionaire put forth in a public hearing from the German Parliament his ideas about a possible negotiation that would implicate in a Russian approval for the Kyoto Protocol in exchange for a position as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In time of skepticism as to the approval of the instrument signed in 1997, which would diminish the carbon issuance that cause global heating, the declaration could give some hope to those who detain the technology and the resources to participate in the carbon market. Considering that the Russian federation represents 17% of the carbon issuances, its ratification would be the milestone to achieve the goal of 55% of the world issuance developed countries, which would lead to the protocol’s effectiveness.

However, to become a member of the WTO, there is no automatic process, but lengthy negotiations between the Applicant State and the WTO. As the decision about the adhesion occurs upon consensus and all WTO members’ interests are taking into account, the negotiations may lap over for many years. The Work Group for the analyses of Russia’s application was created in 1993 and there are still some substantial matters to be solved.

The European Union is Russia’s major commercial partner and it makes public its interest in the Kyoto Protocol ratification and in the matters related to the climatic changes e carbon credits, which comprises an issuance reduction policy for the member countries. This way, it would have the necessary means to render the relationship between the Protocol and the Russian adhesion to the WTO.

When asked about the political package surmised by Verheungen, the European Commissionaire for the environment, Margot Wallström, answered that she did not think that it would be accomplished due to the fact that the European commercial representatives would not be interested in the matter, and that she could not picture how those negotiations would take place. Wallström, though, would be convinced that Russia will ratify the Protocol after the election in March. The Protocol will provide investments in energy and infrastructure, which are too attractive to be discarded.

Sources:  Gazeta Mercantil 02/11/2004 pp.A2
Date of insertion:   16/02/2004 - 15:40:37