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For better or for worse, flexibility mechanisms have become a part of the institutional architecture of energy policy in the 21st Century.
As the contributions to this compendium illustrate, this fact has both positive and negative connotations. Flexibility mechanisms have the potential to unleash exciting market-led emission reduction initiatives, and to promote both technological and institutional innovation. At the same time, the complexity of establishing credible and robust arrangements, in which practicality and viability are balanced with appropriate safeguards against loopholes and gaming, should not be underestimated. In the longer term, the flexibility mechanisms may turn out to be unhealthy distractions from the much more important task of restructuring domestic energy systems. Or they might just turn out to be indispensable instruments for achieving the deep cuts in emissions that climate change demands. One thing, however, is abundantly clear: climate policy has guaranteed that energy policy will never be the same again.