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International Climate Change Law Research Guide: International Agreements

Introduction

Major sources of international climate change law include the Paris Agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the decisions made by the UNFCCC in implementing these treaties.

For help decoding the many acronyms used in climate change law and science, see this glossary.

The Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement 

  • Official Text (UN Treaty Series)
    • The official text can be cumbersome to navigate and is best used for Bluebooking purposes. See this page for a more readable PDF.
  • UN Treaty Details
    • Includes a list of participants with treaty adoption status.
  • Secretariat Website
    • Includes overviews of the treaty, detailed reports, and treaty-related documents. Explore the "Process and meetings" and "Documents and Decisions" tabs for more.
  • NDC Registry
    • "Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of [its] long-term goals. NDCs embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change." See this page for a general overview of NDCs.

The Katowice Climate Package

Additional Reading

The Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol

  • Official Text (UN Treaty Series)
    • The official text can be cumbersome to navigate and is best used for Bluebooking purposes. See this page for a more readable PDF.
  • UN Treaty Details
    • Includes a list of participants with treaty adoption status.
  • Secretariat Website
    • Includes overviews of the treaty, detailed reports, and treaty-related documents. Explore the "Process and meetings" and "Documents and Decisions" tabs for more.

The UNFCCC

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

  • Official Text (UN Treaty Series)
    • The official text can be cumbersome to navigate and is best used for Bluebooking purposes. See this page for a more readable PDF.
  • UN Treaty Details
    • Includes a list of participants with treaty adoption status.
  • Secretariat Website
    • Includes news, treaty overviews, detailed reports, and treaty-related documents.
    • See this page for a structural overview of the UNFCCC.

UNFCCC Decisions

The UNFCCC consists of multiple bodies tasked with implementing the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement. The main decision-making bodies are the COP (implementing the Convention as a whole), the CMP (implementing the Kyoto Protocol), and the CMA (implementing the Paris agreement). The decisions made by these bodies provide an additional source of international law that build upon the original treaties. You can find the text of these decisions using the UNFCCC Decisions Database or by browsing topics on the UNFCCC website.

UNFCCC decisions are titled according to decision number, the decision-making body, and session number. For example, "Decision 3/CMA.1" refers to the third decision made at the first session of the CMA.

Other UNFCCC Resources

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Paris Agreement Background

Legend

CP = Conference of the Parties 

CMA = Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement

CMP = Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol

COP = Conference of the Parties 

FCCC = Framework Convention on Climate Change

INDC = Intended Nationally Determined Contributions

IPCC = Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

NAP = National Adaptation Plan

NDC = Nationally Determined Contributions

PCCB = Paris Committee on Capacity-building

SBI = Subsidiary Body for Implementation

SBSTA = Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice

UNFCCC = United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

WIM = Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts

See this glossary for more.