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    Putin wants more consideration for Russia interests in Kyoto deal

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    Russia will seek broader consideration of its interests from countries signatory to the Kyoto environmental agreement, the president said Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, July 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will seek broader consideration of its interests from countries signatory to the Kyoto environmental agreement, the president said Tuesday.

    The 1997 agreement legally binds industrialized nations to reduce worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases. It came into force in February 2005 after Russia's long-awaited ratification.

    "We do not think that our interests were taken into consideration during negotiations on joining the protocol," Vladimir Putin told a forum of non-governmental organizations, the Civil G8, in Moscow ahead of a summit of the world's leading nations in St. Petersburg in mid-July.

    The forum has gathered more than 700 representatives of prominent rights organizations, including Greenpeace.

    Under the Kyoto protocol, the signatory countries have quotas for gas emissions that they can trade with each other and Putin said the accord had failed to include Russia's vast forest resources and their potential.

    "Our forests are enormous lungs of the planet that absorb all these greenhouse emissions, and their size and potential were not duly taken into account," Putin said, adding that forests of other developing countries that had a far stronger effect on the environment had been heeded appropriately.

    On May 19, Russia's Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev said Russia would be ready to start implementing the Kyoto protocol in fall.

    "Russia has significant carbonic acid emission reserves and major forests, which can absorb large amounts of emissions," he said. "The most important document will be ready in August 2006."

    Trutnev said Russia had considerably reduced emissions since the 1990s and its economy was currently witnessing "trends to modernize production and use technologies aimed at reducing negative impacts on the environment."

    By ratifying the Kyoto agreement, Russia assumed a commitment to keep within the level of gas emissions it produced before 1990. But the country substantially reduced emissions following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, which led to economic upheavals and closure of a great deal of industrial plants. Therefore, Russia is bound to "zero" reduction of gas emissions by 2008-12 - Kyoto's first implementation period.

    At the moment of ratification, Russia held 29% of quotas that it could sell to other parties to the deal. However, the United States, a major potential customer, has refused to sign up to Kyoto, while European countries should first turn to their EU neighbors for quotas and only then to Russia.

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