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Briefing Paper

The Dead Souls: How to Deal With the Russian Surplus?

Authors: Anna Korppoo (The Finnish Institute of International Affairs) and Thomas Spencer (Germanwatch)

Publisher: The Finnish Institute of International Affairs

September 2009

Under the Kyoto Protocol, Russia, the Ukraine and some Eastern European countries received a very large quantity of surplus emissions rights due to the fact that their actual emissions were and have remained well below the emissions targets assigned to them. If sold and used to offset other countries' emissions, these surplus units (often called "hot air") could undermine efforts to reduce emissions and transform towards a low carbon economy, as well as threatening the stability of the carbon market. In this paper, the authors discuss the history and politics of, and possible solutions to, the problem of surplus emissions rights in the Kyoto Protocol.

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last updated 17 Nov 2009