Foundations of International Climate Law: Objectives, Principles and Methods
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This chapter explores the objectives, principle and methods of climate law. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) lays the foundations of the international regime by setting out its ultimate objectives in Article 2, the key principles in Article 3, and the methods of the regime in Article 4. The ultimate objective of the regime – to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference – is examined and assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are considered when seeking to understand the definition of this concept. The international environmental principles of: state sovereignty and responsibility, preventative action, cooperation, sustainable development, precaution, polluter pays and common but differentiated responsibility are then examined and their incorporation within the international climate regime instruments evaluated. This is followed by an examination of the methods used by the mitigation and adaptation regimes in seeking to achieve the objective of the UNFCCC. Methods of the mitigation regime include: domestic implementation of policies, setting of standards and targets and allocation of rights, use of flexibility mechanisms, and reporting. While it is noted that methods of the adaptation regime are still evolving, the latter includes measures such as impact assessments, national adaptation plans and the provision of funding.