A Bottom-Up Compliance Mechanism for the Paris Agreement
Chinese Journal of Environmental Law, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2017
23 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2017 Last revised: 24 Apr 2017
Date Written: February 6, 2017
The article discusses the development of the Paris Agreement’s provision on a compliance mechanism contained in Article 15 of the treaty. There is a risk that a compliance mechanism set up as a separate body within the new regime will be duplicative and dysfunctional. Keeping state parties to their Paris Agreement obligations can be achieved, instead, through the elaboration of pre-existing and already well-developed reporting-and-review processes under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In the past, these have generated sufficient pressure on states to maintain compliance with their UNFCCC obligations, and are likely to have the same effect for the new treaty. The fact that the Paris Agreement does not impose any onerous new obligations on states is a reason to continue to rely on existing processes. I show that the separate compliance body envisaged by the Paris Agreement has no obvious way to improve on the diffuse ‘compliance mechanism’ currently operating under the UNFCCC. The most efficient approach to ‘Paris Agreement compliance’, therefore, would be to delay implementation of the Article 15 mechanism and allow current practices, suitably modified, to continue for as long as their performance is satisfactory.
Keywords: Paris Agreement Article 15, compliance mechanism, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol, Kyoto Protocol Enforcement Branch, Kyoto Protocol Facilitative Branch, ‘enforcement’ versus ‘facilitation’, ‘top-down’ versus ‘bottom-up’ approaches
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation