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Alexander Zahar

The Global Stocktake compels states periodically to focus on the Paris Agreement’s ultimate aims. Without it, each state’s attention would have been fixated on its own Nationally Determined Contribution and little else. The Paris Rulebook clarifies how the stocktaking mechanism is to function—in all but one respect: although the rules keep the emphasis squarely on “collective progress” as the proper object of the stocktake’s assessment, the text is ambiguous on whether its implied opposite—individual state progress—is to be excluded from the assessment. The ambiguity rides mainly on the notion of “equity”—a term as dutifully inserted into key passages of the Rulebook as its explanation is studiously avoided. Whatever the negotiators may have intended in this respect, an objective construction of the Rulebook shows that an assessment of the individual progress of states is permitted to occupy a substantial part of the stocktaking process, except when it comes to formal reporting on the stocktake’s outputs. The non-exclusion of individual assessment from the dialogue that powers the stocktake means that, while the ideology of “national self-determination” may have succeeded in turning out an Article 15 Committee of unprecedented blandness, it has neglected to defend its flanks in the Global Stocktake, making for an unpredictable, yet potentially useful process.

Marjan Peeters

EU climate law has come to consist of many rules and court decisions. Given its breadth, complexity, and dynamic nature, it is a huge challenge for scholars to acquire a good overview, let alone develop a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the law. It should not be taboo to concede that hard-working scholars may fall short of having a thorough appreciation of the “state of the art” of EU climate law. Because of this, not only prioritization but also cooperation among scholars is necessary. While legal research can point to problems and shortcomings in EU climate law, it should at the same time delve on the importance of having a body of EU climate law leading to emission reductions that most likely would not have been achieved if the EU member states had had to decide on this objective individually.

Gu Zihua, Christina Voigt and Jacob Werksman

This article provides a comprehensive overview of the modalities and procedures for the effective operation of the committee tasked to facilitate implementation of, and promote compliance with, the provisions of the Paris Agreement. This is done in the context of the negotiation history and the object and purpose of the Paris Agreement. The article explains how the Committee is expected to function, the situations that trigger its proceedings, and the outcomes that can be expected. The article also explores the linkages to other processes and mechanisms under the Paris Agreement, especially the Enhanced Transparency Framework, and explains how the Committee will add value to the Paris Agreement’s architecture.

Meinhard Doelle

Nationally Determined Contributions play a critical role in the architecture of the Paris Agreement. Parties are required to prepare and communicate their ndcs and to undertake domestic efforts to meet their mitigation commitments, facilitated in some cases by support and finance from other parties. The focus of this article is on key elements of the five-year cycle that deal with the content and process of ndcs, specifically the portion of the Paris Rulebook on the communication of ndcs and the accounting for their implementation. The article concludes that while the basics appear to be in place, there are a number of gaps and uncertainties that may result in implementation challenges.

Hao Zhang

This article examines the substantive and procedural rules on climate finance adopted as part of the Paris Rulebook. It finds that the Rulebook has occasioned some important progress, less on substance than on procedure facilitating greater transparency. On substance, the Rulebook recognizes the existing goal by developed-country parties to the unfccc to raise $100 billion of climate finance per year by 2020 and it provides for a process to be initiated in 2020 to determine a new collective goal that will be no less than the existing one. On procedure, the Rulebook establishes extensive reporting obligations for improved understanding of climate-finance flows. By examining the implementation challenges and gaps, this article discusses whether the climate-finance provisions of the Paris Agreement as developed through its Rulebook will be able to remain consistent with the applicable principles of international law on climate finance and thus drive a comprehensive shift in finance flows.

Steinar Andresen

The aim of this article is to assess and explain the effectiveness of the international climate regime in a problem-solving perspective, with a focus on mitigation. As CO2 emissions have increased by more than 60 per cent since the start of the climate negotiations, effectiveness is exceedingly low. In explaining the performance of the regime, the main focus is on its problem-solving ability, defined as a function of power, leadership, and institutional design. ‘Negative’ power and a lack of leadership constitute important reasons for low effectiveness. In this broader perspective, the role of institutional design, exemplified by the Paris Agreement and its Rulebook, is fairly modest, and its significance should not be exaggerated. The Agreement and Rulebook score high in terms of ambition, but whether the rules will ever realize those ambitions remains to be seen. Domestic interests and priorities of the most important emitting countries will be decisive in this regard.

Benoit Mayer

In December 2018, cop 24/cma 1.3 adopted the Modalities, Procedures and Guidelines for the Transparency Framework under Article 13 of the Paris Agreement. Commenting on this decision, this article reviews and assesses the rules on transparency in the unfccc regime as they will apply during the coming years. Two main themes are identified: differentiation and progression. With regard to differentiation, while the Transparency Framework seeks to apply the same rules to all countries, bifurcation remains in place in some important respects. With regard to progression, the article identifies four aspects in which the adoption of a uniform set of rules has come at the expense of the stringency of the rules applicable to Annex i parties.