The Kyoto Protocol is the first serious international attempt to address climate change through the reduction of Green House Gases (GHG) emissions. Through the Protocol signatory nations have legally committed to reduce emission levels to certain levels by 2012. The Kyoto Protocol includes both developed and developing and in addition to imposing limits or caps on GHG emissions it also allows for carbon cap trading between member nations.
Carbon trading allows nations who are unable to meet their reduction targets to purchase carbon credits under a unified regulatory framework. A carbon credit is a generic term for any tradable certificate or permit representing the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide or the mass of another greenhouse gas with a carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide.
Carbon credits and carbon markets are a component of national and international attempts to reduce the growth in concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs). One carbon credit is equal to one metric tonne of carbon dioxide, or in some markets, carbon dioxide equivalent gases. Carbon trading is an application of an emissions trading approach. Greenhouse gas emissions are capped and then markets are used to allocate the emissions among the group of regulated sources.
The goal is to allow market mechanisms to drive industrial and commercial processes in the direction of low emissions or less carbon intensive approaches than those used when there is no cost to emitting carbon dioxide and other GHGs into the atmosphere. Since GHG lessening projects generate credits, this approach can be used to finance carbon reduction schemes between trading partners and around the world.
There are also many companies that sell carbon credits to commercial and individual customers who are interested in lowering their carbon footprint on a voluntary basis. These carbon offsetters purchase the credits from an investment fund or a carbon development...
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