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Clouds or Sunshine in Katowice? Transparency in the Paris Agreement Rulebook

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DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/cclr/2018/3/7

Christopher Campbell-Duruflé


This article identifies outstanding issues regarding the adoption of MPGs for the transparency framework of the Paris Agreement at the Conference of the Parties in Katowice in December 2018. The article first offers a definition of the concept of transparency, and reviews certain salient elements in the literature. This includes a warning that adopting transparency rules that elude questions of accountability of Parties for their domestic policies and equity in burden sharing may fail the objective of building the trust and confidence for which the transparency framework was adopted. The article next offers a brief overview of the requirements of Article 13 of the Paris Agreement, before assessing three key matters raised by the August 2018 draft of the MPGs in light of the literature and recent submissions by Parties. The article underscores the relevance of including a focus on ex ante accountability for climate policies in the way the transparency framework is set to operate, in view of the overall focus of the Paris Agreement on prevention of environmental harm. Comparing the potential of transparency rules to promote accountability of reporting and accountability of implementation of Parties’ commitments, it further argues for the inclusion of both foci in the modalities. Lastly, the article highlights that the Paris Rulebook presents a unique opportunity to craft specific roles for non-Party stakeholders in the operation of the transparency framework, thereby developing the links between the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and transnational climate governance initiatives.

Christopher Campbell-Duruflé, SJD Candidate and Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar 2016, University of Toronto. For correspondence: <mailto:c.campbell.durufle@mail.utoronto.ca>. I am indebted to Professors Harro van Asselt and Michael Mehling for their helpful comments on this article.

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