India’s approach to international law in the climate change regime

Indian Journal of International Law, 29 January 2018

In the last decade of the multilateral climate negotiations, particularly in the negotiations leading up to the 2015 Paris Agreement, India questioned the need to negotiate a new legally binding instrument. Although other developing countries were also initially reluctant to negotiate a new legally binding instrument, over time their opposition fell away, and in the end, India alone remained opposed to the negotiation of a new legally binding instrument to fortify the climate change regime. Instead, India endorsed and privileged other softer forms of law, thus both triggering innovation and experimentation in law-making as well as blurring the boundaries between law, soft law, and non-law. This article examines India’s position in the last decade of the climate negotiations in relation to ‘‘legal bindingness’’, exploring in particular possible reasons for India’s wariness on issues relating to ‘‘legal bindingness’’.