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The Paris Climate Agreement Analysis And Commentary

The aim of the Paris Agreement is to “strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change” and to strengthen the implementation of the Convention (UNFCCC), including its objective6. The aim is to recognize the needs of developing countries and to describe the agreement`s objective in terms of “sustainable development and action to eliminate poverty”. This provision is intended to allay the fears of developing countries that measures to combat climate change should not stifle or slow down their (sustainable) development. The objective of the Paris Agreement is translated into three main components:7 5 See B. Mayer, “International Law Obligations Arising in relation to Nationally Determined Contributions” (2018) 7(2) Transnational Environmental Law, p. 251-75. Andrew Higham is the Executive Chef of Mission 2020, an initiative to reduce global emissions at the rate required for full decarbonization by 2050. He was responsible for the strategy for achieving a universal and legally binding agreement within the 2011-2016 UN climate secretariat: managing the formation of the Durban mandate, and then the team that supported the development of the Paris Agreement. Even if the title of the book clearly shows that the Paris Agreement is its main concern, a broad introduction to the international climate regime should not be missed. Part I, which is about 100 pages long, is devoted to the evolution of the climate regime, with explanations of the institutions, the various agreements, the negotiations, the concepts, the provisions and their relevance.

In this context, the reader is well equipped to enter the most substantial part of the book: Part II, which analyzes the provisions of the agreement. As the enthusiastic reader can assume – and of course, it is to be expected – the analytical part of the book is detailed, informative, concise and impressive. Every article or provision of the Paris Agreement is analysed. Overall, the 15 chapters of Part II follow the structure of a general overview and negotiation history, an analysis (or interpretation) of the content of the article or provision, its implementation, and an evaluation and perspective. The authors thus associate the textual interpretation of the agreement, i.e. black on white text, with the teleological or contextual interpretation that takes into account the history of the project and the intentions of the state parties. As the Paris Agreement is relatively new, it is not possible to apply an evolutionary interpretation. The perspectives contained in this book will therefore be particularly interesting for future interpreters and students of the Paris Agreement, in order to compare the real evolution or evolution of the agreement with its perceived evolution in 2017.

The specific objectives and measures set by each country11 to contribute to the fight against climate change are entirely autonomous. The reason for this bottom-up approach is that universal participation is more likely to be achieved than by a top-down approach, with centrally defined objectives. The implementation of universal participation in a new agreement has become a priority above all other points of view, with the intention of addressing gaps in ambition12 through the establishment of a mechanism for periodic review and upward revision of contributions.

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