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Legal Issues Related to the Paris Agreement

Legal Issues Related to the Paris Agreement

Full Title: Legal Issues Related to the Paris Agreement
Author(s): C2ES
Publisher(s): Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Publication Date: May 1, 2017
Full Text: Download Resource
Description (excerpt):

The Paris Agreement requires each party to “prepare, communicate and maintain” successive nationally determined contributions. The United States’ current NDC is to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels in 2025.

Article 4.11 of the agreement provides that a party “may at any time adjust its existing [NDC] with a view to enhancing its level of ambition….” This provision makes clear that, if a party chooses to revise its existing target, it is encouraged to do so in a more ambitious direction. However, higher ambition is not a legal requirement, and Article 4.11 does not legally prohibit a party from adjusting its NDC in another direction.

Likewise, the requirement in Article 4.2 that a party “maintain” successive NDCs does not preclude a downward adjustment. Like the sentence it appears in, the term “maintain” applies to NDCs in general, not to a particular NDC. In other words, a party must always have an NDC in place; removing an existing NDC without replacing it would violate this requirement. However, a party is not required to maintain each particular NDC once it has been submitted.

All statements and/or propositions in discussion prompts are meant exclusively to stimulate discussion and do not represent the views of, its Partners, Topic Directors or Experts, nor of any individual or organization. Comments by and opinions of Expert participants are their own.

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