The Long March to a Global Climate Agreement: from the Kyoto Protocol to the Paris Agreement

By Stefano Nespor


The Paris Outcome, approved in Paris in December 2015 by the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, consists of two separate documents: an Agreement and a Decision. Together, they are the conclusion of negotiations developed over many years of «climate diplomacy». The Agreement, the only document binding upon the Parties, replaces the Kyoto Protocol, the failure of which was already clear during the first (and last) period of its implementation. After a brief exposition of the negotiations preceding the Paris Outcome, this paper outlines the most important and innovative parts of the Agreement and the strategy adopted to achieve its goals. In particular, this strategy
focuses primarily on voluntary and ambitious obligations, the implementation of which is guaranteed not by means of sanctions, but rather through a commonly accepted transparency and information framework.