Keywords: flexibility instruments, joint implementation, emissions trading, climate change, Kyoto Protocol
The language of flexibility and the flexibility of language
Flexibility instruments such as joint implementation and emissions trading have played an important part in climate change policy negotiations since before the signing of the Framework Convention on Climate Change. They are likely to remain an important feature of future negotiations. This paper examines the characteristics of the various flexibility mechanisms introduced by the Kyoto Protocol. Although the language in which they are couched differs significantly from earlier language on flexibility, the authors point out that many of the proposed mechanisms are broadly similar to mechanisms which have already been mooted. They suggest that contentious issues will not be resolved by linguistic changes, and are best addressed by an open recognition of the multiple objectives under which flexibility instruments operate.