Nature and Key Legal Issues of Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor of Public International Law Department of Law Faculty of law and political Science Ferdowsi University of Mashhad

2 Assistant professor, Water Engineering Departments, Tarbiat Modares University

3 MA of International Law, Shiraz University


Distinguishing between legal form and structure of the Paris Agreement, in general, and specific content of its provisions and individual elements is of great improtance.This agreement is a treaty within the meaning of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, although not all provisions in it produce legally binding obligation. Paris Agreement has included a compound of legally and non-legally binding provisions while having a twofold structure (button-up and top-down).This agreement contains a mix of hard, soft, and non-obligations, the boundaries between which are blurred, but each of which plays a distinct and valuable role. This article has discussed legal form, scope and button-up, top-down structure of Paris Agreement using a dogmatic-descriptive approach, identifies legal character of provisions in the Paris Agreement, and then proceeds to tabulate the core provisions of the Paris Agreement across a spectrum from those that conform most closely to hard obligations to those that are best characterized as ‘non-obligations.


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