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The 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change: Significance and Implications for the Future

April 2016

Citation: ELR 10267

Author: Hari Osofsky, Lisa Benjamin, Michael Gerrard, Jacqueline Peel, and David Titley

On December 12, 2015, nearly 200 countries created a major new agreement on climate change, accompanied by national commitments to act. The Paris Agreement has rightly been celebrated as a breakthrough, but was unquestionably constrained by the need for compromise, and its details will continue to be developed at the international, national, and local levels. On January 9, 2016, a panel of expert commentators and delegation members from a variety of national jurisdictions convened at the annual American Association of Law Schools meeting to analyze the Paris Agreement; they considered how the agreement evolved from prior efforts, the structure of its commitments, and its implications for the future. This Dialogue presents a transcript of the discussion, which has been edited for style, clarity, and space considerations.

Hari Osofsky (moderator) is a Professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, the Faculty Director of the Energy Transition Lab, and Chair of the American Society of International Law’s observer delegation to the Paris negotiations. Lisa Benjamin is an Assistant Professor at The College of The Bahamas. Michael Gerrard is a Professor and Director of the Columbia Law School Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. Jacqueline Peel is a Professor at the Melbourne Law School in Australia. David Titley is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Meteorology at Penn State University.

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