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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance


Climate Change Conference – What is the real substance of the Paris Agreement?

15 December 2015

The Agreement reached at the Paris Climate Change Conference on 12 December was immediately acclaimed as a great achievement both by politicians and much of the media.  The success of the conference from a political perspective, in securing agreement from 195 countries (both developed and developing) to a way forward on climate change action, should not be underestimated.  However, this success lies beyond the fairly limited substantive obligations placed on the Parties by the Agreement itself.  Key elements:

  • The Agreement requires all Parties to prepare and submit emission reduction contributions with new common accounting and estimation requirements to ensure transparency
  • These are not enforceable but political pressure to adopt and implement them will be considerable
  • A floor of US$100 bn / year finance to developing countries has been set
  • A new carbon mitigation mechanism will be designed – most likely a broader form of CDM and facilitation of links between emissions trading schemes

This briefing considers the detail of the Agreement and offers some thoughts on its wider implications.

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