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The Legal Nature of the Paris Agreement: Much Ado About Nothing? Sandrine Maljean-Dubois

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S. Maljean-Dubois (CNRS/Ceric, Paris, France), at the Our Common Future Under Climate Change conference, July 7-10 in Paris, France.

More at http://www.commonfuture-paris2015.org/

Published in: Science
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The Legal Nature of the Paris Agreement: Much Ado About Nothing? Sandrine Maljean-Dubois

  1. 1. + Thomas Spencer, IDDRI Sandrine Maljean-Dubois, CERIC UMR 7318 CNRS Aix-Marseille University (France) Matthieu Wemaëre, Senior Lawyer (Paris and Brussels Bar Associations) Our Common Future under Climate Change UNESCO 10 July 2015 The Legal Nature of the Paris Agreement: Much Ado About Nothing?
  2. 2. +  1992-2012: UNFCCC + Kyoto Protocol  2012-2020: UNFCCC (Copenhagen Accord, no legal force, not enough ambitious) + Kyoto Protocol CPII (not in force, symbolic) Post 2020: an agreement to be adopted in Paris. In Durban, Parties to the UNFCCC decided “to launch a process to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change applicable to all Parties” (Decision 1/CP.17). At least three legal forms possible, much more if we include combined approaches  What is at stake? Does the legal form really matter? Achieving the ultimate goal of the Convention as described in Article 2 and subsequently elaborated in 2010 under Decision 1/CP.16, namely to hold warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, will require widespread participation, a robust and credible regime, and a dynamic approach to increasing ambition over time. The legal form as a fundamental parameter Particularly since Parties have agreed at COP 19 in Warsaw that their contributions to this instrument would be determined at the national level Still an open question Introduction
  3. 3. +  Clarification of the terminology Legal Legally binding Legally enforceable Legal force  Three criteria of normativity A formal criteria: is the instrument embedded in a formal source of law or not? How was the instrument adopted? By what organ, with what authority? According to what decision-making process? Did some States express reservations? If yes, which States? A substantive criteria: are the legal norms expressed in precise and prescriptive language? Or are they vague and hortatory? A procedural criteria: does the instrument include the capacity to mobilize relevant ‘disciplines’ in order to promote and ensure implementation of agreed norms? Such disciplines include a robust transparency, accountability and facilitation mechanism, as well as possibly a compliance and enforcement mechanism. demonstrate the necessity of assessing the instrument as a whole when determining its legal nature, on the spectrum between hard and soft law, binding and non-binding. Preliminary remarks
  4. 4. + The legal form as a result of several key parameters
  5. 5. +  The Protocol option Advantages Risks  The Option of “Another Legal Instrument or an Agreed Outcome with Legal Force” Advantages Risks  Advantages of a combined approach gives the opportunity to optimize between the pros and cons of each other option The legal form of the core agreement
  6. 6. +  Five options Form and anchoring of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) New Protocol With contributions inside classical annex national schedule to be included later With contributions outside Mandatory due to a reference in the protocol In a COP decision In an INF document
  7. 7. +  The Kyoto Protocol model Advantages Risks  The Copenhagen Accord model Advantages Risks  Options for the Paris accord Transparency, accountability and non compliance mechanisms
  8. 8. +  Need of a comprehensive approach Useful for balancing credibility and durability with flexibility and dynamism  The Accord won’t be punitive, but need to create a new dynamic The transparency, accountability, and facilitation mechanisms must form the core of the Paris agreement Conclusion
  9. 9. <ANR-12-GLOB-0001-03 CIRCULEX> http://circulex.wix.com/projet A comprehensive Assessment of Options for the Legal Form of the Paris Climate Agreement, S. Maljean-Dubois, M. Wemaëre and T. Spencer Working Paper n°15/14, Iddri, Paris, novembre 2014, 20 p.

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