Ocean acidification post-Paris: Gauging law and policy responses in light of evolving scientific knowledge

On 12 December 2015, 195 States agreed on the text of the Paris Agreement, opening a new phase in the global response to the threat of climate change. The Agreement has been lauded as an “historic breakthrough in that it seems to have broken a decade long impasse” in the climate change negotiations. The impressive number of ratifications to date and its quick entry into force are indicators of this diplomatic success.

The Agreement achieved this remarkable feat by fundamentally changing the approach to the climate change cooperation. The Kyoto Protocol, generally considered unsuccessful to the influence States’ action, was drafted on the premise of jointly negotiated (i.e. top-down) and binding emission targets with strong consequences in case on non-compliance and rigid differentiation between developed and developing countries. The Paris Agreement, in contract, is a universal agreement that adopts a managerial approach to climate change cooperation under the premise that “self-imposed, voluntary commitments [nationally determined contributions or NDCS] are more likely to be met than those imposed by the global community”.

Engler C., VanderZwagg D. L. & Fennel K., 2019. Ocean acidification post-Paris: Gauging law and policy responses in light of evolving scientific knowledge. In: Chircop A., Coffen-Smout S. & McConnell M. L. (Eds.), Ocean Yearbook 33, pp 207-249. Brill Nijhoff. Chapter.

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