Is the Paris Agreement a Treaty According to International Law
The Paris Agreement, signed in 2016, is an international agreement aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions to limit the effects of climate change. The agreement was adopted at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and was ratified by 189 nations.
One of the key questions regarding the Paris Agreement is whether it is a treaty under international law. The answer to this question has significant implications for the legal status of the agreement and the obligations of the parties involved.
According to Article 2(1)(a) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT), a treaty is defined as “an international agreement concluded between States in written form and governed by international law, whether embodied in a single instrument or in two or more related instruments and whatever its particular designation.”
Based on this definition, the Paris Agreement can be considered a treaty. It is an international agreement between States that was adopted in written form and is governed by international law. Furthermore, it is a legally binding agreement that requires states to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Paris Agreement also includes provisions for monitoring and reporting on emissions reductions and for reviewing progress towards meeting the agreement’s goals. These provisions are consistent with those found in other international treaties, reinforcing the argument that the Paris Agreement is indeed a treaty.
Despite the classification of the Paris Agreement as a treaty, there are some who dispute this claim. Some argue that the agreement is a non-binding political statement rather than a legally binding treaty. However, the vast majority of legal experts and the parties to the agreement themselves consider it a treaty.
Another argument against considering the Paris Agreement a treaty is that it was open for signature by parties other than States, namely regional economic integration organizations (REIOs). However, this does not preclude the agreement from being considered a treaty. The VCLT recognizes that certain international agreements may be open for signature by entities other than States.
In conclusion, the Paris Agreement is a treaty under international law. It is an international agreement between States that is governed by international law and is legally binding. The Paris Agreement represents a significant step forward in global efforts to combat climate change and its classification as a treaty strengthens its legal status and the obligations of the parties involved.