Annalisa Savaresi, The Paris Agreement: A New Beginning? (March 14, 2016). Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2016/08. Available at SSRN
The Paris Climate Change Conference was tasked to set the world on a path to address the greatest challenge to ever face humankind, by adopting a new climate agreement. The outlook for the conference was rather bleak. The laborious and increasingly frequent meetings of the body entrusted to draft the text of the Paris Agreement, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), had made limited progress. These negotiations had eloquently demonstrated the futility of technical negotiations, without political consensus on the core elements and features of the new agreement. Yet, to the surprise of many, the Paris Conference concluded on 12 December 2015, with the adoption of a new climate treaty. This article reflects on the Paris Conference and on its outcome. First, it collocates the conference in the history of the climate regime. Then, it explains what Parties were expected to deliver. Finally, it assesses the outcome of the conference against these expectations. The article concludes with a reflection on where the climate regime is likely to head next, and where the Paris Agreement leaves Parties in their efforts to tackle climate change.