After several years of suspense, the Kyoto climate change protocol has entered into force. This is an important feat for many reasons. First, and foremost, it represents the coming together of most of the global community to address the greatest environmental challenge of our time. Although ﬂawed, and at best only a ﬁrst step, the protocol lays a foundation for more intense action to ﬁrmly come to grips with the implications of climate change.
Secondly, the protocol is an important departure from classic international environmental policy making because it relies on creative and elaborate market arrangements. These ‘ﬂexible mechanisms’ resulted from intense bargaining, emerging only once it became clear that developed countries were unwilling simply to regulate a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The burdens and opportunities had to be shared both between countries and ﬁrms.