The Climate Regime: A Few Achievements but Many Challenges

Climate Law, Vol 4, Nos 1-2, 2014, pp. 21-30.

During its more than twenty years of existence the UN climate regime has created some innovative mechanisms but with little practical significance for emissions reductions. Over time, the efforts by the climate negotiators have increased significantly but the effectiveness of the regime has not been enhanced. The Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period is weaker than its predecessor and there are presently no binding obligations for countries emitting some 85% of global emissions. The main reason for the slow progress is the extreme malign nature of the issue area as it goes to the heart of virtually all global economic activity. All actors need to do more to increase the effectiveness of the regime but this particularly applies to the emerging economies. They cannot continue to ‘hide’ within the Group of 77 if progress is to be made.

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