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

See all articles by Harro van Asselt

Harro van Asselt

Stockholm Environment Institute; University of Eastern Finland

Date Written: March 2016

Abstract

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

van Asselt, Harro, International Climate Change Law in a Bottom-Up World (March 2016). Questions of International Law (QIL), Zoom-in, Vol. 26, pp. 5-15, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2778116

Harro Van Asselt (Contact Author)

Stockholm Environment Institute ( email )

Oxford
United Kingdom

University of Eastern Finland ( email )

PO Box 111
Joensuu, 80100
Finland

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