Emissions trading - countries can trade in ‘emission units’
A key feature of the protocol is the agreement on the use of some form of emissions trading. If introduced, the trading system should allow the holder of a 'credit' the emission of a specified amount of GHG.
A tradable carbon credit unit called AAU's (Assigned Amount Units) has been proposed which would represent one tonne of CO2 emissions. The advantages of this trading are that it drives countries to better efficiency in their own greenhouse gas emissions. However, this is probably the most contentious of all the' flexibility mechanisms'. There is a worry that some rich countries will simply 'buy off' the GHG they produce and not take any action themselves. the idea of a 'cap on the amount of trading has been suggested, but has produced even more argument'.
Taken a step further, per capita emissions have been discussed as a Utopian way to be fair to all.. maybe one day. But these credits will only have value for reductions made in the commitment period 2008-2012. Despite this, some traders are already speculating in 'carbon credits' and its worth all businesses being aware of where they would stand in a world of 'carbon credits'. Farmers for instance may be sitting on 'pots of carbon gold' in the form of the potential of their land as a carbon sink.