Dec 04, 2009 - 9:00am
Behind the headlines about emission targets and finance for developing countries, a profound discussion on the “legal form” of the post-2012 climate change agreement is occurring. At the Copenhagen climate summit this issue may emerge as a major point of conflict between nations as it cuts to the heart of what countries will be legally bound to do under any future agreement.
Australia has been particularly active in these discussions and has proposed a model for a legally binding treaty. The central feature of Australia’s model is the proposal that the post-2012 agreement include a binding ‘national schedule’ for each member country. Each country’s schedule would contain a specific set of binding and non-binding commitments and actions to reduce emissions.
This policy brief provides a detailed critique of Australia's proposal, outlining some potential strengths and possible risks.