The United Nations Climate Change Conference today voted to finalize the 'rule book' of the Kyoto Protocol, putting into concrete form the 1997 landmark treaty designed to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that have been determined to cause global warming.
"The Kyoto Protocol is now fully operational. This is an historic step," said Canadian Environment Minister Stéphane Dion, President of the 11-day Conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Montreal, which includes the first ever meeting of the 157 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.
The UNFCCC is the189-party convention that includes the signatories of the Kyoto agreement, the binding pact that that came into force in February 2005 and requires 35 industrialized nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.
Under the 'rule book' decisions adopted, parties to the Kyoto Protocol established a Joint Implementation Supervisory Board, to oversee the Kyoto mechanism that allows developed countries to invest in central and eastern European transition economies and others and thereby earn carbon allowances which they can use to meet their emission reduction commitments.
In addition, the clean development mechanism, which allows industrialized countries to invest in sustainable development projects in developing countries and thereby earn carbon allowances, is fully established.
Concerning these decisions, Richard Kinley, acting Head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat said: "Carbon now has a market value. Under the clean development mechanism, investing in projects that provide sustainable development and reduce emissions makes sound business sense."
Other decisions define a wide range of operational considerations for running the Protocol including: how the emissions of countries are accounted for, precise guidelines on the data systems that have to be set up, and the rules governing the measurement of absorption of carbon dioxide by agricultural soils.