The Paris Agreement Reflections On An International Law Odyssey
Although it was never formally decided not to prosecute Kyoto, everyone seems to have accepted by Paris that the next phase of the climate change regime would be a single agreement that would apply to all parties. The joint announcement by the United States and China in the fall of 2014 sounded this change and gave many observers confidence that Paris would succeed where Copenhagen had failed. In Paris, the Kyoto Protocol was the dog that didn`t bark, and it looks like it`s going to go slowly into the night. Malicious comparisons from the Copenhagen and Paris conferences were a staple of the comments. Copenhagen was a disaster and Paris a triumph. This is the usual line. For international relations scientists who wonder if international agreements have any effect, the obsession with words may seem peculiar. But at least sometimes they are important. I just compared the Paris agreement with the recent agreement with Iran (the JCPOA) and thought about the similarities/differences between them. I largely agree with Dan B`s summary of the kind of provisions the president can and cannot enter into unilaterally (without the consent of the Senate or Congress). If, as Dan says, “certain types of obligations contained in the Paris Agreement fall under the existing presidential authority” because there is an existing statute or treaty that authorizes it to accept them, then there should be no major constitutional problem. However, if there is no treaty or statute authorizing the president to commit on behalf of the United States to make commitments, his power to do so would be much more limited.
Admittedly, the court recognized the president`s power to enter into “single executive agreements” in certain discrete contexts to which Congress has long been entitled. (Belmont, Rosa.) However, the Medellin Court of Justice indicated that this category was quite narrow. And most importantly, as Dan proposes that the president can unilaterally engage the United States on all issues that lie “within his constitutional authority over foreign affairs,” I think that`s a mistake: his authority over foreign affairs extends to virtually every negotiating matter — but, as I said above, very few of them can . Read more » A rules-based structure – After all, the Paris Agreement has a hybrid architecture that complements the bottom-up system of NDCs with internationally negotiated rules to introduce some discipline into the national pledging process that was a kind of free for all in Copenhagen. For example, the agreement requires parties to provide the necessary information to ensure that their NNCs are clear and transparent and monitor the progress of their implementation, and provides for NDTs to become increasingly ambitious over time. The Paris Agreement is a particularly important moment in the current climate negotiation process. But this is not the end. At least for the foreseeable future, the UN climate change regime will likely remain a full-work agreement for climate negotiators. .