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Understanding the New Paris Agreement on Climate Change: Prospects for "Climate Justice" and Sustainable Development

last modified Feb 08, 2016 11:31 AM

Understanding the New Paris Agreement on Climate Change: Prospects for "Climate Justice" and Sustainable Development


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Wednesday 3 February 2016, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge

Co-Chairs: Dr Markus Gehring and Dr Joanna Depledge

Speaker: Dr Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, DPhil (Oxon) MEM (Yale) BCL and LLB (McGill), BA Hons, Senior Director, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL); Chair, Climate Law and Governance Consortium at UNFCCC CoP21 in Paris; author/editor of 18 books and over 80 papers on climate change, sustainable development law and policy, and co-editor of Implementing Sustainable Development Treaties Series (CUP). Serves as Affiliated Fellow, Lauterpacht Centre for International Law (LCIL) and Fellow, Centre for Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Governance (C-EENRG) at the University of Cambridge; Senior Research Associate, Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR); Senior Legal Expert, Sustainable Development, International Development Law Organization (IDLO) & Advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme.

Abstract: After nearly seventeen years of deadlock, 197 parties to the UNFCCC concluded a new international agreement on climate change at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015. The treaty aims to "strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.” Parties seek to hold climate change below 2 °C and even 1.5 °C, to adapt to climate impacts and foster resilience, and to mobilize the finance needed for low-carbon development. The new treaty adopts a bottom up approach to achieve high ambition objectives, building on climate action plans from 188 countries, as UNFCCC Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to global response to climate change. This guest lecture outlines key elements of the new Paris Agreement, exploring the emerging international context and key legal challenges for implementing "climate justice" for more sustainable development that guides and is guided by international law in a post-Paris carbon-constrained world.