Foreigners Face Kyoto Hurdles

Foreign firms seeking to make money in Russia under the Kyoto Protocol will not have an easy time getting approval from the state, the official in charge of Kyoto implementation in Russia said Thursday.

"The most correct approach is forbidding everything but allowing certain things to go forward. The worst approach is to approve everything but say certain things are forbidden," Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Vsevolod Gavrilov said.

"We are working according to a principle of rejection."

Gavrilov was speaking at the first official news conference after the country in January opened the door for clean energy projects under the Kyoto Protocol to go forward. Under the protocol's joint implementation mechanism, rich countries can invest in greenhouse gas emissions-cutting projects in developing and former communist nations and count the cuts as their own.

Gavrilov said there were 60 of these projects under development in Russia, funded by tens of millions of dollars from foreign investors who have waited nearly two years for the green light from the state. None of the projects, however, has yet applied for approval, and when they do, Gavrilov said the investors would need to prove that they are not just out for easy profit.

"Unfortunately not all the investors are taking this opportunity the right way, seeing it as a way to get a freebie without doing any work," he said.