This is the introduction to the article written by law firm ReedSmith.
The 21st Conference of the Parties (“COP”) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCCC”) meets in Paris at the end of this year (December 2015) to seek to achieve the vaulted ambition set by the Durban Platform of “developing a protocol or other legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties” on climate change within the specified deadline of 2015.
In terms of the world’s response to the challenges posed by climate change and the likelihood of any potential success of that response, a great deal will turn on the positions negotiated and reached (or not) over the course of the two weeks in Paris. The EU Council’s conclusions on the preparations for COP21 describe this meeting as of “critical importance” and “a historic milestone for enhancing global collective action.”
Ever since the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009 collapsed under the weight of inflated hype and expectation, everyone involved in the process launched by the Durban Platform has sought to limit, temper and manage expectations for the new agreement. This approach has been so successful that today, on the eve of one of the most significant international global treaty negotiations, the question being asked is just what meaningful impact can follow from the little that may be achieved in Paris? In this client paper, we therefore explore what may follow when little is expected.
The 30 sec overview
- The international climate change meeting in Paris is likely to lead to a new international agreement. This agreement will replace the Kyoto Protocol and is to take effect from 2020. In contrast to the previous attempt in Copenhagen in 2009, this time China and the U.S. are active supporters of the new “bottom up approach” which invites action to address climate change from all 196 countries to the UNFCCC.
- Although reaching such an agreement in Paris will not be without challenges, these challenges are capable of being overcome. Some of the key challenges to be overcome include (a) the legal form and length/tenure of the agreement, (b) the role of the pre-notified intended national contributions, (c) the accounting measures to gauge impact of the collective efforts and to judge cooperative arrangements adopted by various countries, and (d) the role of finance to assist developing countries bring about the necessary change and to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change.For the full overview: http://goo.gl/w74vaL
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