Kyoto – how it works

The Kyoto Protocol defines three flexibility mechanisms to help lower the overall costs of achieving its emissions targets.

This content was published on February 14, 2005 - 16:38

These measures give nations cost-effective ways of reducing emissions or removing carbon from the atmosphere through cooperation with other countries.

Kyoto states that while the cost of limiting emissions varies considerably from region to region, the effect on the atmosphere is the same, irrespective of where the action is taken.

Negotiators therefore sought to design a system that fulfilled the cost-effectiveness promise of the mechanisms, while also addressing environmental concerns.

The three Kyoto mechanisms are:

A joint implementation system which allows industrialised countries to set up projects to reduce emissions or remove carbon from the atmosphere in other countries that have accepted reduction targets. This is in return for emission reduction credits.

A clean development mechanism that allows industrialised nations to set up projects to reduce emissions in developing countries or absorb carbon through reforestation activities in return for emission reduction credits. Industrialised countries must also help host countries to achieve sustainable development and to contribute to the ultimate objective of the Convention.

Emissions trading between industrialised nations.

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