International Climate Change Law in a Bottom-Up World
Questions of International Law (QIL), Zoom-in, Vol. 26, pp. 5-15, 2016
11 Pages Posted: 11 May 2016
Date Written: March 2016
The Paris Agreement on climate change leaves some key questions unresolved. Notably, it remains unclear how the agreement will ensure that Parties, over time, will achieve the lofty goals set by the treaty. More fundamentally, what role does international law still have to play in a world where ‘commitments’ have been replaced with ‘contributions’, and where compliance no longer needs to be ‘enforced’ but ‘facilitated’. In other words, what is the role of international climate change law in a bottom-up world? In this Note, I offer initial reflections on these questions. I argue that it is important that Parties design the various review processes in the Paris Agreement in such a way so as to ensure a proper functioning of the treaty’s ratcheting mechanism. I further argue that the shift to a bottom-up legal architecture confirmed by the Paris Agreement offers an opportunity for scholars and practitioners to uncover and better appreciate the functions of international climate change law that go beyond ensuring compliance with legal obligations.
Keywords: Climate Change, Paris Agreement, Compliance
JEL Classification: K32, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation