Getting developing countries involved
* The Kyoto Protocol does not set limits on the greenhouse-gas emissions of developing nations. Yet
the greenhouse-gas emissions of developing countries are growing, especially in the case of
enormously populous states such as China and India, which are rapidly expanding their industrial output.
* Because the atmosphere is equally damaged by greenhouse-gas emissions wherever they occur and
equally helped by emissions cuts wherever they are made, the Protocol includes an arrangement for reductions
to be "sponsored" in countries not bound by emissions targets. The so-called Clean
Development Mechanism is loaded with complicated details and acroynyms, but in simplified form it works this
way: Industrialized countries pay for projects that cut or avoid emissions in poorer nations -- and are
awarded credits that can be applied to meeting their own emissions targets. The recipient countries benefit
from free infusions of advanced technology that allow their factories or electrical generating plants to
operate more efficiently -- and hence at lower costs and higher profits. And the atmosphere benefits because
future emissions are lower than they would have been otherwise.
* The mechanism has drawn extensive interest from rich and poor countries alike, and steps have been taken to
put it into operation even before the Protocol takes effect. In particular, it is cost-effective and
offers a degree of flexibility to industrialized countries trying to meet their targets. It can be
more efficient for them to carry out environmentally useful work in developing countries than at home, where
land, technology, and labor are generally more costly. The benefits to the climate are the same.
* The system also appeals to private companies and investors. The mechanism is meant to work
bottom-up -- to proceed from individual proposals to approval by donor and recipient governments to the
allocation of "certified emissions reduction" credits. Countries earning the credits may apply them
to meeting their emissions limits, may "bank" them for use later, or may sell them to other
industrialized countries under the Protocol's emissions-trading system. Private firms are interested in
the mechanism because they may earn profits from proposing and carrying out such work and because they may
develop good reputations for their technology which will lead to further sales. A possible benefit for
everyone is that the potential for profits may lead these businesses to develop even more useful
* The Clean Development Mechanism is overseen by an Executive Board. To be certified, by the Clean
Development Mechanism Executive Board, a project must be approved by all involved parties,
demonstrate a measurable and long-term ability to reduce emissions, and promise reductions that would be
additional to any that would otherwise occur.