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The Paris Agreement: Rebooting Climate Cooperation ∙ Perspectives on EU Implementation of the Paris Outcome

Sebastian Oberthür

After the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, attention in the EU has turned to ratification and implementation. Due to the shared competences of the EU and its member states for implementation and consequently the “mixed” nature of the Agreement, ratification by the EU and its member states is closely tied to internal implementing legislation. It is thus unlikely to occur before the second half of 2017. The EU faces a full legislative agenda, with the European Commission scheduled to bring forward a string of proposals by the end of 2016, including: a revised ETS Directive (already tabled in 2015), an Effort Sharing Decision to 2030, rules on the accounting for the LULUCF sector, the promotion of renewable energy, energy efficiency improvements and the design of the EU’s internal electricity market. Legislative procedures may be completed by 2018 and could provide a basis for a further clarification and upgrade of the “nationally determined contribution” of the EU and its member states under the Paris Agreement as well as continued future EU leadership on climate change.

Sebastian Oberthür is Professor for Environment and Sustainable Development at the Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel; eMail: <>. I would like to thank Matthieu Wemaëre and Jacob Werksman for helpful comments on a previous version of this article. This article was finalized before the Referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union on 23 June 2016, and does not take into account the consequences of the likely UK withdrawal from the Union under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU).


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