Research Handbooks in Environmental Law series
Edited by Geert Van Calster, Wim Vandenberghe and Leonie Reins
Chapter 20: Blazing trail or flickering flame? Market mechanisms under the UNFCCC
The ‘flexible mechanisms’ of the Kyoto Protocol – the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Joint Implementation (JI) and International Emissions Trading (IET) – may never have been. Born of the often highly contentious negotiations culminating in the third Conference of the Parties (COP) in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997 the mechanisms were, with the exception of JI, the subject of intense disagreement between parties and were contested until the final moments of the conference. While their proponents argued that they presented a vital means of reducing the cost of achieving targets assumed by developed (Annex I) parties under the Protocol, their opponents held major doubts over the reliability of the hitherto little tested market approach and feared they would result in the mitigation burden being transferred to developing (non-Annex I) parties. Emerging from this troubled gestation, however, the flexible mechanisms and the approach they embody quickly won favour.
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