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Reconciling the flexibility mechanisms of climate policies towards the inclusiveness of developing countries: commitments and prospects


The Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997 and enforced in 2005, aimed to reduce global emissions and establish three mechanisms: an emission trading system, a clean development mechanism, and a joint implantation mechanism. The transition from the Kyoto Protocol to the Paris Agreement requires a better understanding of the modalities, procedures, and accomplishments. This study examines the related commitments and achievements in the context of the legal framework, efficiency, carbon price, and the parties and sectors involved; it also draws implications for developing countries. Global emissions increased over the year despite commitments by Annex I members. Middle-income developing countries were largely responsible for this increase. Low-income developing countries could not fully benefit from the clean development mechanism due to insufficient access and implementation capacity. According to the data reported, most of the beneficiary host countries are in the category of middle-income countries (94%), while low-income countries account for only 2% of the related projects hosted, although they represent around 15% of the total countries. The transition to the Paris Agreement must involve a clear definition of the modalities, procedures, and certain enforcement elements for cases of non-compliance. The current experience of related parties, such as the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme and other flexibility mechanisms, has several implications for the developing world in terms of legal frameworks, efficiency, capacity building, the role of agriculture, and regional collaboration to address climate change.

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Fig. 1

Source: World Bank (2019a) (1990–2014); Crippa et al. (2019) (year 2018)

Fig. 2

Source: Calculated using World Bank (2019a) data

Fig. 3

Source: World Bank (2019a), Crippa et al. (2019)

Fig. 4

Source: World Bank (2019a), Crippa et al. (2019)

Fig. 5

Source: World Bank (2019a), Crippa et al. (2019)

Fig. 6

Source: Calculated utilizing the UNEP-DTU Database (Fenhann, 2019)


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Correspondence to Cemal Atici.

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Atici, C. Reconciling the flexibility mechanisms of climate policies towards the inclusiveness of developing countries: commitments and prospects. Environ Dev Sustain (2021).

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  • Carbon emissions
  • Climate change
  • Flexibility mechanisms
  • Developing countries