Like the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), the 2015 Paris Agreement acknowledges that climate change is a common concern of humankind. The Paris Agreement declares that, to pursue the FCCC’s objective to avert dangerous, human-induced climate change, it aims to hold the increase of global average temperatures to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and strives to keep increases to 1.5°C. The Paris Agreement, for the first time, involves all states in a regime that entails emissions-related commitments for both developed and developing countries. Within months, the Paris Agreement had garnered 180 signatures and it is on course to an unusually speedy entry into force upon ratification by 55 countries accounting for at least 55% of global emissions.
In order to accomplish the feat of providing an ambitious, universal, long-term framework for climate action, the Paris ‘Outcome’ has a range of innovative features. The ‘Outcome’ consists of the Paris Agreement and a decision of the FCCC Conference of the Parties (COP), which adopts the agreement and supplements it in many key respects. The most experimental aspect of the Paris Agreement is that, instead of enshrining binding emission reduction commitments, it relies on non-legally binding, ‘nationally determined contributions’ (NDCs) by parties. However, while each party is permitted to decide upon its level of commitment, the Paris Agreement obligates all parties to maintain successive NDCs and imposes related procedural requirements, including concerning performance assessment. It also subjects parties to certain normative expectations regarding differentiation, progression and highest possible ambition.
This agora provides an opportunity to explore, inter alia, the hybrid character of Paris Agreement, the role of standard-setting by COPs, the role and likely efficacy of procedural obligations in guiding parties’ NDCs and compelling implementation, and the newly nuanced approach to differentiation, calibrated to various aspects of the agreement.
Jutta Brunnée (University of Toronto)
Anne Saab (Graduate Institute of International Law and Development Studies, Geneva) “IP Rights and Climate-Related Technologies in the Paris Agreement”
Sandrine Maljean-Dubois (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) “L’Accord de Paris ou le renouvellement des formes d’engagement de l’État”
Christina Voigt and Felipe Ferreira (University of Oslo) “Ways of Differentiation in the Paris Agreement”