TONY EASTLEY: The UN and signatory nations to the treaty are marking today with celebrations across the globe.
The UN says it marks a new era in reducing the risk of climate change as well as the start of new business opportunities in carbon trading and technologies to reduce emissions.
The Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is Joke Waller-Hunter who's speaking to AM's Hamish Fitzsimmons on the line from Kyoto.
JOKE WALLER-HUNTER: What' going to happen here is that there will be a big commemorative ceremony organised by the Government of Japan which will then be followed by a relay of messages around the world with leaders to celebrate the entry into force.
HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: And what does this mean now that it has come into force?
JOKE WALLER-HUNTER: Well, the importance of the Kyoto Protocol coming into force at this… from today on, it's legally binding on the parties to the protocol.
At the moment we've got 141 parties. For the industrialised parties it means that from now on they have legally binding, quantitative, emission targets. They must reduce their emissions with a certain percentage.
It also means that for the business community it's quite clear that there has come an end to a period of uncertainty if the Kyoto Protocol would enter into force.
So it means also for business that they know it's for real and that it's for them worthwhile to invest in those technologies and to take those decisions that would help reduce emissions to enhance energy efficiency and to decrease the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: What effect will this have on countries that haven't signed, like Australian and the United States.
JOKE WALLER-HUNTER: It means that these countries will not be bound by the targets and that some of the mechanisms that are included in the Kyoto Protocol like the Clean Development Mechanism, which allows countries to invest in sustainable development in developing countries and at the same time reduce their emissions, that these type of measures are not accessible for countries like United States and Australia.
HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Just how big is the international carbon trading market going to be under the Kyoto scheme, given that it doesn't seem to have much of a financial incentive for a country to get involved in it now?
JOKE WALLER-HUNTER: Well the Kyoto market will… effects of the protocol will only start in 2008 but we've seen that a market has started in Europe. An emission trading scheme is currently active. And we've seen that the prices of a tonne of carbon since the market started has gone up. It's now around $8 per tonne.
We have to see how the market develop and of course how bigger the market how better the market development would be.
TONY EASTLEY: The Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Joke Waller-Hunter, speaking to Hamish Fitzsimmons.
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