The United Nations Security Council's Legislative and Enforcement Powers and Climate Change
Scottish Centre for International Law Working Paper Series, No. 14
24 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2016 Last revised: 29 Oct 2016
Date Written: October 14, 2016
Since the adoption of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), international climate change law-making has chiefly been the prerogative of the treaty bodies established under the Convention and its Protocol. The adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015 is an important step forward for the multilateral climate change framework, but, despite its rapid entry into force, it is still too early to tell whether the Paris Agreement will prove to be an effective and successful intergovernmental framework for tackling climate change. Nor is it necessarily the only relevant institution in the climate change regime. Given the urgency of climate change and the glacial pace of multilateral climate law-making, the idea of exploiting the United Nations Security Council’s legislative and enforcement powers to lead global efforts on climate change therefore holds a significant appeal. This chapter focuses on the use of the Council’s legislative and enforcement powers to help states get out of the climate change law-making quagmire. Firstly, the chapter analyses the powers and practice of the Council both as a global legislator, and in enforcing states’ obligations. Secondly, the chapter considers how existing Council law-making and enforcement powers can be applied to climate change. The chapter concludes by reflecting on advantages and disadvantages of Council’s legislative and enforcement action in relation to climate change.
Keywords: Climate change, Paris Agreement, UN Security Council, international law, law-making, security
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation