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Joint-Implementation Essentials for Lawyers

July 1996

Citation: ELR 10364

Author: Richard J. Blaustein

Joint implementation provides U.S. companies an opportunity to contribute to an officially sanctioned effort to reduce greenhouse-gas1 emissions, the anthropogenic cause of global warming. Joint implementation typically takes place in developing countries, with the financial and technical assistance of sponsors in the developed world. They are part of a sophisticated initiative, the potential social benefits of which include not only mitigating climate change, but also preserving biodiversity in threatened locales in the developing world and making a significant contribution to poorer nations' sustainable development.

The most recent international climate-change agreement2 alludes to the possibility of the emergence of a trading regime for greenhouse-gas emissions, similar to the domestic acid-rain program. If such a regime does emerge, domestic investors can expect accrual of prospective pollution allowances generated by joint-implementation projects to provide them some return on their overseas investments. Other financial incentives for participating in joint implementation include advantageous entry into developing-world markets (in particular, the emerging global energy market); relatively inexpensive research and development for innovative energy and land use processes; and direct short-term returns through biodiversity prospecting, timber sales, and energy revenues.

Richard J. Blaustein is an environmental lawyer in private practice. He represented the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, a sustainable-development compilation, at the International Congress on Environment/Climate, organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, held in Rome in March 1996.

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