The Copenhagen Accord: A legal analysis

Briefing paper

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Date produced: 28/01/2010

This note is a legal analysis of the Copenhagen Accord (Accord)1 agreed on 19 December 2009 by various States at the UNFCCC Conference in Copenhagen. Given the vagueness of the Accord, a “pure” legal analysis is not possible and some interpretational opinion is ventured.

This analysis is set out in two parts. In Part I we set out:
a) an overview of the outcomes of COP15;
b) an analysis of the Accord’s legal status;
c) what it means to associate with the Accord;
d) the Accord’s relationship with the UNFCCC;
e) the Accords relationship with the extended mandates of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-Term Co-operative Action (AWG-LCA) and the Ad-hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex 1 Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP); and
f) our view on whether a legally binding outcome can be expected at COP16.

In Part II we:
a) examine the substantive elements of the Accord itself; and
b) set out a critical legal analysis of the key thematic issues contained in the Accord.