Foley Hoag Climate Update: February 2016
February 11, 2016
The Boston office of Foley Hoag LLP, the Paris office of Foley Hoag AARPI and Matthieu Wemaere collaborated on the production of this white paper.
The Paris Outcome
After two weeks of intense negotiations at the Paris climate conference, 195 countries finally adopted the Paris Agreement and a Decision to limit “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2° C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels”.
According to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, the Paris Agreement is a legally-binding Treaty containing both legally binding obligations (“shall”) and provisions which are too broad to be legally binding (“invited”, “encouraged”, “should”). The Paris Agreement will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 Parties to the UNFCCC that account for 55 % of global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. Accordingly, the Paris Agreement would enter into force before 2020 if the Parties ratify it rapidly. For example, in the US, the approval of the Paris Agreement will be exempted from the vote of the Congress because it is considered as an “executive agreement” under the US Constitution.