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COP25 in Search of Lost Time for Action: An Assessment of the Madrid Climate Conference journal article

Wolfgang Obergassel, Christof Arens, Christiane Beuermann, Lukas Hermwille, Nicolas Kreibich, Hermann E Ott, Meike Spitzner

Carbon & Climate Law Review, Volume 14 (2020), Issue 1, Page 3 - 17

Last year's conference of the global climate change regime took place from 2 until 15 December 2019 in Madrid, Spain. Despite marking a new record for overtime in the history of the UNFCCC, the conference did not only fail to meet the increasing public demand for swift and strong climate action, it also failed on its formal mandate to finalise the Paris rulebook. A record number of issues were left unresolved and shelved for the next session. COP25 thereby highlighted how much work still lies ahead both domestically and internationally if 2020 is to see a step-up in climate action that is consistent with the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement.

Paris Agreement: Ship Moves Out of the Drydock journal article

An Assessment of COP24 in Katowice

Wolfgang Obergassel, Christof Arens, Lukas Hermwille, Nicolas Kreibich, Hermann E. Ott, Hanna Wang-Helmreich

Carbon & Climate Law Review, Volume 13 (2019), Issue 1, Page 3 - 18

Last year's conference of the global climate change regime took place from 2 until 15 December 2018 in Katowice, Poland. The conference had two main objectives: operationalising the Paris Agreement by adopting detailed rules for its implementation, and starting the process of strengthening Parties' climate protection contributions. This article covers the negotiations on these two sets of issues and also includes a discussion of other recent climate activities by Parties and non-Party actors. Success of the negotiations in Katowice was far from assured, but in the end COP24 concluded with the adoption of the ‘Katowice Climate Package’ setting out detailed guidelines on how to implement its various elements. However, the conference fell short on the first objective, none of the major emitting countries was ready to step up its climate ambition. The most important aspect of the Katowice outcome is therefore that it has brought the wrangling about implementation procedures to a close, making way for the true task at hand: the strengthening of national and international activities to protect the climate and the implementation of the existing pledges. Arguably, a key factor that has been slowing down climate policy is the power of entrenched interests. The article therefore concludes with a reflection on how such barriers to climate action may be overcome and what role future COPs may play in this regard.

Human Rights and the Paris Agreement’s Implementation Guidelines: Opportunities to Develop a Rights-based Approach journal article free

Sébastien Duyck, Erika Lennon, Wolfgang Obergassel, Annalisa Savaresi, Sébastien Duyck, Erika Lennon, Wolfgang Obergassel, Annalisa Savaresi

Carbon & Climate Law Review, Volume 12 (2018), Issue 3, Page 191 - 202

The inclusion of references to human rights in the Paris Agreement was celebrated as a milestone towards greater integration of human rights in environmental and climate governance. Beyond their symbolic value, the significance of these provisions however depends on the extent to which they inform the implementation of the Paris Agreement both at the national and international levels. This article takes stock of the integration of human rights in climate governance and identifies concrete opportunities to ensure that human rights considerations are included in the Paris implementation guidelines to be adopted at the Conference of the Parties in Katowice in December 2018, promoting climate action that aligns with Parties’ human rights obligations. We first consider the relevance of human rights to climate action and the incremental recognition of these linkages in the international climate regime – both in the lead up to the adoption of the Paris Agreement and since. We then consider in specific terms how human rights could inform five key dimensions of the Paris Agreement’s implementation guidelines: guidance for nationally determined contributions, adaptation communications, transparency framework, global stocktake, and the Article 6 mechanisms. The article reflects on past experience of how climate policy impacts human rights and on proposals put forward in the context of the negotiations of the implementation guidelines, and concludes with recommendations on a rights-based approach to implementing the Paris Agreement.

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