International Law Obligations Arising in Relation to Nationally Determined Contributions

(2018) 7:2 Transnational Environmental Law 251-275

22 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2018 Last revised: 4 Sep 2019

See all articles by Benoit Mayer

Benoit Mayer

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 4, 2018

Abstract

This article analyses the international law obligations that arise in relation to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). It argues that distinct and concurrent obligations arise from two separate sources. On the one hand, treaty obligations arise under the Paris Agreement, which imposes an obligation of conduct on Parties: they must take adequate measures towards the realization of the mitigation targets contained in their NDCs. On the other hand, communications such as NDCs may constitute unilateral declarations that also create legal obligations. These unilateral declarations impose obligations of various types, which may extend beyond mitigation. For example, they may specify measures of implementation or demand the achievement of a particular result. The potential ‘double-bindingness’ of NDCs should be a central consideration in the interpretation of international law obligations regarding climate change.

Keywords: Climate change; Paris Agreement; Nationally determined contributions; Unilateral declarations of states capable of creating legal obligations

Suggested Citation

Mayer, Benoit, International Law Obligations Arising in Relation to Nationally Determined Contributions (April 4, 2018). (2018) 7:2 Transnational Environmental Law 251-275, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3156069

Benoit Mayer (Contact Author)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Faculty of Law ( email )

6/F, Lee Shau Kee Building
Shatin, New Territories
Hong Kong

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