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A Dynamic Adjustment Mechanism for the 2015 Climate Agreement

Lena Donat, Ralph Bodle

To provide an effective response to climate change over time, the 2015 Agreement needs to incorporate dynamic elements, including a possibility for adjusting Parties‘ commitments over time. A dynamic adjustment mechanism could help to adjust commitments to the necessary ambition level and to changing circumstances. The challenge is to design such amechanism in a way that would make it objective and stringent while being agreeable for Parties. This article provides a structured approach for developing and evaluating options for a dynamic adjustment mechanism in the 2015 Agreement, drawing from previous experience in the climate regime, other multilateral environmental agreements, and from literature. We explore possible design elements of a mechanism, namely triggers, process, consequences, and derogations, assessing their assets and drawbacks.We argue that an automatic ratchet-upmechanismdoes not appear to be a viable option, and that an adjustmentmechanism based on a procedural approach negotiations currently seems more realistic. However, in order to ensure a certain degree of objectivity in the process, it is essential that commitments in the 2015 agreement are quantifiable and comparable in their mitigation impact across countries and commitment types.


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