FAQS about the Climate Ambition

5. How did the concept “ambition” originate in the Paris Agreement?

The question fits because perhaps “ambition” was not the right word to express the objective pursued. It is too abstract and lacking pragmatism. It has nowhere to hold. Perhaps to this it owes its weakness and noncompliance. Probably the word “ambition” was chosen to avoid the word “obligation”, thinking that it was not going to be accepted by some countries.

The purpose, supposedly, was to prevent the Paris Agreement from being seen as a mechanism of interference in the sovereign affairs of countries. The document is based on soft law, as explained by Dr. César Nava Escudero in his article “The Paris Agreement. Prevalence of soft law in the climate regime”, Let’s see what the summary of Dr. Nava’s extensive academic work says:

“It is common practice among the States, to adopt within the international regime of protection of the environment, to which the climate regime belongs, binding agreements with a high content of standards that are not mandatory; that is, soft law rules. The 2015 Paris Agreement is precisely an example of the above. Through a brief analysis of the soft content in the two most important conventional antecedents (that is, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 1992 and the Kyoto Protocol to that 1997 Convention). This article aims to examine some of the most relevant precepts of the Paris Agreement, to corroborate the recidivism of States in the use of non-binding norms for this type of treaty. This shows that this agreement is not, legally speaking, an exceptional instrument, but only the repeated manifestation of the international community to face climate change in this way”.

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