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Benoît Mayer

The discussions on loss and damage associated with climate change that opened up within the unfccc in recent years constitute the latest attempt of developing states to obtain something akin to compensation from major greenhouse gas emitters for the adverse social impacts of climate change. These discussions generally contemplate a mechanism financed by developed states that would provide direct support to individuals, corporations, and governments in developing countries (‘vertical’ approach), for instance, through insurance. This article argues that, for practical as well as normative reasons, a loss-and-damage mechanism should instead support vulnerable developing states, in a states-to-states ‘horizontal’ approach. Accordingly, financial support would be provided to developing states that incorporate vulnerable populations and are responsible for protecting them. Three sets of arguments are developed in support of this proposition. First, attributing loss and damage at the individual level is particularly challenging, whereas horizontal approaches allow consideration of probabilistic harm and compensation through bundle payments. Second, horizontal approaches are more suitable for pursuing goals such as economic efficiency, the reduction of loss and damage, the creation of an incentive for climate change mitigation, and broader goals of social justice. Third, vertical approaches go against prevailing principles of international law and involve unjustified interference in the domestic affairs of developing states.

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.

Benoit Mayer, Mikko Rajavuori and Mandy Meng Fang

China plans the implementation of a nationwide market-based mechanism for greenhouse gas mitigation, appearing thus to replicate the method used most notably in the European Union to price greenhouse gas emissions. However, China’s new mechanism represents only be the tip of the mitigation iceberg. Banking on the unique characteristics of a socialist market economy, China’s government has largely relied on State-Owned Enterprises as a tool for implementing rapid change. In this article, we discuss the role played by Chinese soes to advance the country’s ambitious mitigation objectives. After a general description of the incentives created for emission limitation and energy saving through soe supervision, we highlight the corresponding efforts made in the fossil-fuel, power-generation, and other key mitigation sectors.

Benoit MAYER, Ben BOER and Tianbao QIN

Ben Boer, Benoit Mayer and Tianbao Qin

Richard Zhang and Benoit Mayer


Since January 2015, China’s Environmental Protection Law has allowed Chinese Non- Government Organisations to initiate public interest litigation in relation to activities that harm the environment. This article assesses the implementation of this reform. Based on a variety of primary and secondary sources, it documents almost every case filed in the first two-and-a-half years of the implementation of public interest environmental litigation in China. It demonstrates a rapid development of this new field of litigation which, so far, has almost systematically led to Court decisions favourable to the plaintiffs. Yet, we also recognize some limitations and room for improvement, in particular regarding barriers to access to courts and questions of enforcement of judgments. Therefore, while public interest environmental litigation is a promising opportunity for the protection of the environment in China, some possible refinements of the relevant statutory framework can be identified.