The Paris Agreement: Historic Breakthrough or High Stakes Experiment?

Meinhard Doelle, Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law

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This article offers an overview of the two key outcomes of the 2015 Paris climate negotiations, the Paris COP decision, and the Paris Agreement. They chart a new course for the UN climate regime that started in earnest in Copenhagen in 2009. The Paris Agreement represents a course away from the top down approach and rigid differentiation among parties reflected in the Kyoto Protocol, toward a bottom up and flexible approach focused on collective long term goals and principles. It represents an approach to reaching these long term goals that is focused on self differentiation, support, transparency and review. The article highlights the key elements of the agreement reached in Paris, including its approach to mitigation, adaptation, loss & damage, finance, transparency and compliance.