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A United Nations official has criticised Thailand for refusing to sell 'carbon credits' to developed nations under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

The Bangkok Post this week quoted Thanavat Junchaya, regional coordinator for the UN Environment Programme, as saying that the decision would prevent Thailand from reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, and reflects the country's "disrespect for the spirit of the pact".

Under the Kyoto Protocol, developed countries can invest in projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries in order to obtain 'carbon credits' to put towards meeting their assigned targets.

But a Thai government spokesman, Yongyut Tiyapairut, told a press conference on Tuesday that the government believes that, as developed countries are the world's main polluters, they should be held responsible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by their own industries.

Thailand's science, technology and environment minister Sonthaya Khunpleum said this week his government — which last month announced that it would sign up to the protocol — does not intend to "shut the door on the mechanism". Rather, he said that Thailand has the potential to implement the projects themselves, and "has no need to rely on rich countries".

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