Equity in the Paris Agreement Global Stocktake?

by Dr Alice Venn, University of Bristol Law School

COP28 represented a crucial juncture for international climate law in permitting some initial conclusions to be drawn surrounding the efficacy of the innovative mixed regulatory approach adopted in the Paris Agreement. The legally binding nature of the Paris Agreement provisions have previously been the subject of debate in climate law and policy literature, both in terms of the language of the provisions, many of which are not worded to create clear and concrete obligations for the States Parties, and for the use of soft law to accommodate a more inclusive approach to global climate mitigation. We saw a marked shift away from the Kyoto Protocol model of legally binding targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions applying only to Annex 1 developed States Parties and backed by an enforcement branch, to a soft law bottom-up system of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to emissions reductions which includes developing states and permits self-determined action in line with national capabilities. This system was crucially backed by the Paris Agreement Transparency Framework in Article 13, by the Implementation and Compliance Committee in Article 15, and by a system of 5-yearly global stocktakes from 2023 onwards in Article 14 to create accountability and measure progress in line with the overarching goals of the Agreement to keep global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, with an ambition for 1.5°C. (more…)

Climate change and the new economy

By Prof Bronwen Morgan, Professor of Socio-Legal Studies (University of Bristol Law School).*

57038b77a959739f43138d18_Issue13Spring2016As 2016 lengthens its stride, the ambivalent euphoria of the Paris agreements on climate change gives way to a sense of ‘where to from here?’ While the technicalities of the Kyoto Protocol were never easy fodder for inspiring collective action, the new terrain is arguably even more forbidding on that score. Each country will submit Nationally Determined Contributions, a welter of sector-specific plans and measures which will be assessed, monitored, analysed and reviewed by carbon management professionals via procedures still being fought over. This is, from the perspective of global climate treaty processes, a ‘bottom-up’ approach to responding to climate change.

What if, instead, we were to turn our collective attention to a very different conception of ‘bottom-up’, a grass-roots process of building a new economy as a response to climate change? Not the new economy of the tech start-up world, itself an extension of arguably over-optimistic hopes that the economy-as-usual can, with the help of science and technology, provide products or processes that will decouple growth and carbon emissions. No, the ‘new’ here is more about the way ‘economy’, ‘market’ and ‘exchange’ can be re-imagined so that they move away from the extractive processes that damage our ecology. Innovation is socio-ecological more than technological, internalising a more generative relationship to the resource base upon which production and consumption depend. (more…)