Research Handbook on Climate Change Mitigation Law
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Research Handbook on Climate Change Mitigation Law

Edited by Geert Van Calster, Wim Vandenberghe and Leonie Reins

Governments around the world have been trying to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for decades. This detailed Handbook considers the spectrum of legal and market-based instruments as well as strategies and policies adopted around the world and suggests more effective, comprehensive and responsive ways of managing climate change mitigation.
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Chapter 20: Blazing trail or flickering flame? Market mechanisms under the UNFCCC

Darragh Conway


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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