A System for Implementation Review for the Two Degree Goal in the Future Climate Regime: Comparative Insights from Multilateral Environmental Agreements

Event: International Studies Association West Conference 2012

At the sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP16) for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), countries agreed to limit the global mean temperature increase to below two degree Celsius compared to before industrialization. This decision was made together with an agreement to periodically review the adequacy of the long-term global goal and the progress towards achieving it. The first review is to take place from 2013 to 2015. Currently, modalities of the review are internationally negotiated. Against this background, this paper analyzes review system in existing multilateral environmental agreements (MEA) to identify elements for a successful review system. MEA including the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal were analyzed for their review process and compliance procedures. Concrete stringent target setting and its efficiency, ambitiousness and compliancy are some of the important elements for a successful review system. Successful review system of implementation and compliance to the treaty do not necessary require legally binding targets. Ambitious non-binding target coupled with legal framework or effective review system which involves regular high level meetings may lead to accomplishing its goal. On the other hand, the system alone cannot explain the success of the treaty of the review system. External factors such as the economical incentives or level of scientific knowledge, which may relate to the development of the treaty’s system, can play a larger role. Possible elements for ideal review system were identified with the need for further consideration.