Russian electricity giant Unified Energy System, which accounts for 2 percent of global greenhouse gases, is close to signing 30 Kyoto-linked deals to slash emissions by 20 million tonnes a year, it said on Wednesday.
MOSCOW Russian electricity giant Unified Energy System, which accounts for 2 percent of global greenhouse gases, is close to signing 30 Kyoto-linked deals to slash emissions by 20 million tonnes a year, it said on Wednesday.
In a statement released on the day the Kyoto Protocol on global warming came into force, UES (EESR.RTS) said two of the projects were ready to be implemented now after help from Denmark.
The savings are minimal compared to the 1.88 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide Russia produces a year, but show how much scope the country's firms have to attract Kyoto-linked foreign investment to cut emissions.
Kyoto requires developed countries to cap emissions of greenhouse gases which are widely blamed for global warming.
"Two projects are completely ready ... with the reduction already contracted with the Danish Environmental Protection Agency," the Russian power monopoly said.
"The total reduction of emissions on these projects every year exceeds 465,000 tonnes, with the total (cost of the project) 12 million euros ($15.63 million)," it added, saying this first deal would convert two coal-fired power stations to using gas.
Under Kyoto's terms, firms can invest in cutting emissions outside their own country and count the savings as their own -- an aspect of the pact that has long interested UES which is seeking investment to upgrade its power stations.
Russia's vast and crumbling industrial base uses energy around two and half times less efficiently than factories in Western countries and the potential for so-called Joint Implementation projects is enormous.
In a statement released to mark Kyoto's entry into force, Greenpeace said Russian energy use is so inefficient that 40 percent of national consumption is wasted.
"(Annual) energy losses ... can be compared with the volume of exported Russian oil or the output of 100 large heat power plants," said the environmental group, adding that much of the wastage came from poorly insulated apartment blocks.
"It takes five times more fuel to heat one square metre (of housing floor space) in Russia than in Sweden."
Russia ratified the Kyoto Protocol in November, giving the pact enough signatories to come into force worldwide.
It is the first legally binding effort to fight global warming, but the United States, the world's biggest polluter, has refused to take part.
Washington says Kyoto unfairly exempts large developing industrial nations like China and India and that curbs on pollution could harm the U.S. economy.