The Devilish Details: Key Legal Issues in the 2015 Climate Negotiations

Modern Law Review, 11 September 2015

The ongoing UN negotiations for a 2015 climate agreement have yet to resolve two fundamental legal issues on which its effectiveness will hinge. The first is the precise legal form this agreement will take. Parties had agreed to work towards a ‘protocol, another legal instrument or an agreedoutcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties’. This leaves scope for a range of possible legal forms, only some of which are legally binding. Second, they have yet to determine the legal nature of the ‘nationally determined contributions’ submitted by Parties. This article addresses these two critical issues: on ‘legal form’, it identifies the instruments that could form part of the Paris package, focussing on their legal status, significance and influence; and on the ‘legal nature’ of nationally determined contributions, it considers their nature and scope, the range of options for ‘housing’ these contributions as well as their relationship to the core 2015 agreement.

Suggested Citation: Lavanya Rajamani, The Devilish Details: Key Legal Issues in the 2015 Climate Negotiations' (2015) 78(5) Modern Law Review 826–853