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The flexibility mechanisms introduced by the Kyoto Protocol on climate change promote the realization of climate change related investment projects which aim to contribute both to the fight against climate change as well as to foster sustainable development patterns in host countries. At first glance, the flexibility mechanisms seem to represent paradigmatic examples of green economy instruments which have numerous potential benefits. However, the implementation of such mechanisms may give rise to some negative environmental externalities which have the consequence of creating a new type of investment versus environment conflict, characterized by a new form of conflict with an internal environmental dimension. This “internal environmental conflict” seems to represent an evolution of the traditional investment versus environment conflict in which the presence of climate change related interests has the potential to paradoxically reinforce the investment side of the controversy and reduce the strength of the opposed environmental side. These new internal environmental conflicts cannot be properly managed by the traditional criteria and instruments that have so far been used to deal with traditional investment versus environment conflicts. Therefore, it seems that in order to efficiently manage and solve such new types of conflicts, a new interpretative paradigm must be adopted which consists of the concept of ecological sustainability. The use of such a new interpretative paradigm should ensure the ecological sustainability of climate change related investments by making sure that they can promote global climate change related goals while, at the same time, not endangering the local environment where the relevant projects are located.


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