The Paris Agreement: A New Beginning

In: Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law

The adoption of the Paris Agreement is a milestone in international climate politics and brings years of near deadlock negotiations to a conclusion. The Agreement creates a global process of engagement, follow-up, regular stock-take exercises and cooperative action. On the one hand, it represents a step forward, overcoming the many divisions that had marked the Kyoto area: between developed and developing countries, between industrialized nations inside the Protocol and those outside, and between those supportive of market mechanisms and those that vehemently opposed them. On the other hand, individual country contributions fall short of the overall climate goal, and the risk is that the Paris Agreement remains a shell without sufficient action and support. It thus remains to be seen whether the Paris Agreement is the right framework through which to address the collective action problem of climate change.

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