The Legal Form of the Paris Climate Agreement: A Comprehensive Assessment of Options

CCLR, Forthcoming

17 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2015  

Sandrine Maljean-Dubois

French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)

Thomas A. Spencer

Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations

Matthieu Wemaere

Aix-Marseille University - CERIC

Date Written: February 1, 2015

Abstract

For many years, the issue of the legal form of the new climate agreement has hovered over the international negotiations. Countries have insisted on first discussing substance. Indeed, it is here that the main divergences remain. However, one year out from the Paris climate conference, it is time to open the discussion on the legal form of the final agreement. The issue of legal form is often reduced to the negotiation of a ‘binding’ or ‘non-binding’ agreement. The bindingness of an international environmental agreement however depends on multiple parameters. We propose four parameters to be considered: the form of the core agreement; the ‘anchoring’ of commitments; mechanisms for transparency, accountability and facilitation; and mechanisms for compliance. Parties should assess pros and cons of these options, and the agreement should be optimised across all four, combining flexibility and credibility.

Keywords: climate change, international negotiations, Kyoto Protocol, UNFCCC, United Nations, COP21

JEL Classification: K32, K33

Suggested Citation

Maljean-Dubois, Sandrine and Spencer, Thomas A. and Wemaere, Matthieu, The Legal Form of the Paris Climate Agreement: A Comprehensive Assessment of Options (February 1, 2015). CCLR, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2616421

Sandrine Maljean-Dubois (Contact Author)

French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) ( email )

CERIC Espace Cassin
3 av Robert Schuman
Aix-en-Provence, 13628
France

HOME PAGE: http://www.ceric-aix.univ-cezanne.fr/

Thomas A. Spencer

Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations ( email )

27 Rue Saint-Guillaume
Paris, 75337
France

Matthieu Wemaere

Aix-Marseille University - CERIC ( email )

Faculté de Droit et de SP., 3 av. Robert Schuman
AIX-EN-PROVENCE, 13628
France

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