The Kyoto Protocol was adopted at the Third Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 3) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Kyoto, Japan, on December 11, 1997. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on February 16, 2005, ninetieth day after the last (the Russian Federation) of at least 55 Parties to the UNFCCC (involving Annex I Parties that together accounted for at least 55% of total carbon dioxide emissions for the 1990 base year) deposited its instrument of ratification.
The Kyoto Protocol defines three innovative "flexible mechanisms" that are available to lower the overall costs of a country in achieving its emission reduction target. These mechanisms also enable Parties to access cost-effective opportunities that can help reduce emissions or remove carbon from the atmosphere in other countries. While the cost of limiting emissions varies considerably from region to region, the benefit to the atmosphere is the same wherever the action is taken. These three mechanisms are as follows:
These three mechanisms are provided with channels for obtaining credits and meeting the emission reduction targets of Annex I countries where the lowest-cost emission reductions occur.
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