Climate change demands action around the globe. Growing frustration with the failure of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions significantly highlights the limitation of global action conceived as a top-down international convention. Thus, the Paris Agreement on climate change (Paris Agreement) that forged consensus by 195 nations opted for a bottom-up approach relying on each nation to enact domestic laws (nationally determined contributions or NDCs) to achieve, collectively, the aim of limiting “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2° C above pre-industrial levels.” (Paris Agreement, Art. 4, para. 2). No legally binding emissions targets nor substantive content is imposed on any nation in creating NDCs. Instead, the Paris Agreement commits nations to a binding process of five-year reviews of their NDCs, and the likely upward revisions of their aims through new NDCs (Id., paras. 3, 8–14). Can Paris go where Kyoto feared to tread? The answer could be “yes,” if it follows transnational legal process (TLP).
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