International Climate Change

The purpose of this international climate change blog is to provide the latest legal analysis of the international climate change negotiations ahead of, and beyond, the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2015.
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Posted on: 19 May 2017

Can ambition run backwards? Trump’s post-truth Paris threat

Posted by: Frances Lawson

As negotiators to the UNFCCC complete their meeting in Bonn ahead of November’s COP 23, Donald Trump and his administration are considering backsliding on US commitments to the Paris...

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Posted on: 13 March 2017

Is litigation the new frontier of climate change law?

Posted by: Frances Lawson

It has only created a minor ripple in mainstream news circles, but its contribution to international climate change law could be far greater. Following on from the successful cases in The ...

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Posted on: 18 January 2017

Is the financial world starting to finally get to grips with climate change?

Posted by: Frances Lawson

Money makes the world go round’ is a well-worn adage with a distinct flavour of truth in the modern era of global capitalism. Yet the links between the financial world and the stable climate up...

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Posted on: 14 November 2016

COP22 and contradictions between commitments and actions

Posted by: Frances Lawson

Following the entry into force of the Paris Agreement on 4th November, the 22nd meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change commenced in Marrakech. A...

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Posted on: 18 October 2016

Paris Agreement entry into force: Much ado about something, but much more to do

Posted by Frances Lawson

It is nice to be reminded that, sometimes, things can happen more quickly than anticipated. The ‘best estimate’ for the crossing of the threshold for the entry into force of the Paris Agreement was the en...

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Posted on: 8 July 2016

Ignoring climate risk risks liability for pension fund trustees and fund managers

Posted by Frances Lawson

Pension fund trustees and fund managers can no longer ignore the risk that climate change poses to their investments, particularly in the longer term. That was the conclusion of a high-level seminar this week...

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Posted on: 28 April 2016

The Paris Agreement – could it be in force in 2016?

Posted by Frances Lawson

Fears that the momentum from COP21 in Paris would fizzle in the following months appear to have been dashed at the official Paris Agreement signing session which took place in New York last Friday 22nd April....

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Posted on: 26 February 2016

Finance, transparency and compliance – Key features of the Paris Agreement (Part Two)

Posted by Frances Lawson


Article 6

This part of the Agreement establishes a “mechanism to contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainable development”, a device to support implementa...

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Posted on: 9 February 2016

Key features of and the occasional surprise in the Paris Agreement (Part One)

Posted by: Frances Lawson

The text finally agreed in Paris does not lend itself to easy navigation or digestion; the absence of sub-headings makes it necessary to dive into each paragraph in detail in order to understand the subject ...

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Posted on: 18 December 2015

The Paris Agreement: Symbolism rather than historical significance

Posted by: Frances Lawson

The homepage of the UNFCCC website, like most of the post-COP21 publicity, proclaims the Paris Agreement to be “historic”. It adds, as a sub-heading, that 195 countries have “set a path to keep temper...

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Posted on: 8 December 2015

The truth about what will really enable us to tackle climate change effectively

Posted by: Frances Lawson

At the heart of any discourse are assumptions that are taken to be beyond question. The dominant climate change discourse encircling the current COP21 negotiations is based on several such assumptions which ...

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Posted on: 4 December 2015

13 pages down – update on the text at the midway point

Posted by: Frances Lawson

Four days of fervent negotiations have delivered what the COP21 hosts had requested – another revised version of the Paris Agreement text for consideration ahead of the second and final week.

In additio...

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Posted on: 4 December 2015

Why Obama’s fine words have fallen too late

Posted by: Frances Lawson

Of the various COP21 headlines that have hit the media during the first few days of the conference, one of the most celebrated was President Obama’s concession that “some” parts of the text should “h...

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Posted on: 1 December 2015

It’s all in the brackets – the final COP21 negotiating text (Part 2)

Posted by: Frances Lawson

The final text for the Paris Conference was published at 23:30 at the very end of the last negotiating session. Spread over 59 pages, the text is divided into three parts: the first 31 pages set out the opti...

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Posted on: 23 November 2015

It’s all in the brackets – the final COP21 negotiating text (Part 1)

Posted by: Frances Lawson

The final text for the Paris Conference was published at 23:30 at the very end of the last negotiating session. Spread over 59 pages, the text is divided into three parts: the first 31...

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Posted on: 23 October 2015

All about ambition – Day 5 of the final COP21 negotiating session

Posted by: Frances Lawson

With well over a hundred INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) now submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat, one of the talking points of this final negotiating session has b...

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Posted on: 22 October 2015

Red lines and dividing lines – Day 4 of the final COP21 negotiating session

Posted by: Frances Lawson

My debut appearance at a UNFCCC negotiating session met with an inauspicious start. Those with ‘observer’ status, of which I form part, have been unceremoniously excluded from the ...

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Posted on: 8 October 2015

Is it time for the International Court of Justice to give its opinion on climate change?

Posted by: Frances Lawson

Between 17th and 19th September 2015, lawyers from around the world converged on London for a 3-day climate change symposium hosted and organised by King’s Coll...

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Posted on: 29 September 2015

Compare and contrast: INDC scorecard for major polluters published

Posted by: Frances Lawson

With so many INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) having been submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat, evaluating them all, or even just the key ones, has become a task too...

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Posted on: 14 September 2015

Less than three months but still a long way to go – Analysis of the latest climate change negotiations

Posted by: Frances Lawson

All Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) came together in Bonn at the start of September for the penultimate negotiating session on a new bindi...

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Posted on: 28 August 2015

More coherence but little substance: The latest COP21 negotiating text

Posted by: Frances Lawson

On Monday, all Parties involved in the UN climate change negotiations will converge on the German city of Bonn for the penultimate negotiating session ahead of the 21st Conf...

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Posted on: 12 August 2015

Obstacles on the road to an effective legal agreement in Paris – Part Four

Posted by: Frances Lawson

With the submission of Parties’ mitigation commitments gathering pace, the obstacles to an effective legal agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties are becoming ever clearer. ...

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Posted on: 6 August 2015

Obstacles on the road to an effective legal agreement in Paris – Part Three

Posted by: Frances Lawson

With the submission of Parties’ mitigation commitments gathering pace, the obstacles to an effective legal agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties are becoming ever clearer. ...

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Posted on: 29 July 2015

Obstacles on the road to an effective legal agreement in Paris – Part Two

Posted by: Frances Lawson

With the submission of Parties’ mitigation commitments gathering pace, the obstacles to an effective legal agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties are becoming ever clearer. ...

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Posted on: 21 July 2015

Obstacles on the road to an effective legal agreement in Paris – Part One

Posted by: Frances Lawson

With the submission of Parties’ mitigation commitments gathering pace, the obstacles to an effective legal agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties are becoming ever clearer. ...

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