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Squaring the Circle: Development Prospects Within the Paris Agreement

Reuben Makomere, Kennedy Liti Mbeva

DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/cclr/2018/1/7

The adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015 marked a major milestone in international efforts to address climate change. One of its standout features are the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which express each countries’ pledges to support the implementation of the Agreement. However, the Nationally Determined Contributions are conditional and predicated on adequate support for implementation. Developing countries who have submitted their NDCs are also striving to strike a balance between taking adequate climate action and meeting their broader development objectives. We argue that the conditionality of NDCs presents a systemic risk to the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement. We explore these risks in detail and outline opportunities to mitigate them. However, we conclude with the optimistic prognosis that the review mechanism of the Paris Agreement presents an important opportunity for Parties to develop modalities to ensure transparency and robustness of support for the implementation of NDCs.

Reuben Makomere is a PhD Candidate, University of Tasmania, Faculty of Law Hobart Campus, Australia. For correspondence: reuben.makomere@utas.edu.au. Kennedy Mbeva is a PhD Candidate, Australian-German Energy and Climate College, and School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia. For correspondence: <mailto:kmbeva@student.unimelb.edu.au>. The authors acknowledge apt comments and insights from Luke Kemp on an initial draft of this chapter. The first author acknowledges support from the University of Tasmania, Faculty of Law, and the Research Training Program Scholarship administered by the University of Tasmania and the Commonwealth Department of Education. The second author acknowledges support from the Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne, through the Melbourne Research Scholarship, and acknowledges support from the Australian-German Climate and Energy College. The authors take full responsibility for the study’s contents.


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