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Lavanya Rajamani

The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) is a central foundational pillar of the international climate change regime, but it has also generated considerable disagreement between Parties over the years. The extent to which the climate change regime will succeed in its goals to limit climate change and reduce the risk of disasters depends on the extent to which this principle can be effectively operationalized. In its absence — if states believe themselves to be treated unfairly — the international climate change regime will flounder, dramatically increasing the risk of runaway climate change and disasters. This chapter examines the principle of CBDR-RC, including its core content, its legal status, and its operationalization in the Paris Agreement. The chapter pays particular attention to the aspects of climate change mitigation and adaptation, as they relate to disaster risk reduction.

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Lavanya Rajamani

Abstract This chapter draws on core legal literature to outline the key features of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), as well as to identify areas that have generated discord and would benefit from further research, analysis and commentary. This chapter will first discuss the basic features of the FCCC, in particular its character as a ‘framework’ convention, the nature of commitments it contains, the categories of Parties it creates and the fundamental principles that it enshrines. The chapter will next outline the governance architecture that the FCCC establishes, in particular the Conference of Parties (COP) and its powers, the process of decision-making in the COP, and the legal status of COP decisions. Finally, this chapter will consider avenues for the evolution of the climate change regime, in particular through the adoption of amendments and protocols.
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Lavanya Rajamani

Abstract The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) has, from the inception of the international environmental dialogue, underpinned the efforts of the international community to address global environmental harm. Although it has received widespread endorsement in international instruments, the core content of this principle, the nature of the obligation it entails, as well the applications it lends itself to, are deeply contested, which in turn raises questions about its legal status and operational significance. This chapter explores the debates surrounding the core content of the CBDR principle, its legal status and operational significance, as well as its evolution in the international climate regime, where this principle has achieved its full expression.
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Lavanya Rajamani and Jacqueline Peel

This article examines the profound ways in which international environmental law has evolved over the last decade in response to a shifting geopolitical context, as well as a better understanding of the possibilities and limits of global regulation to address complex, polycentric and intractable environmental harms. It identifies as emerging trends in the field the maturation of the customary norms and fundamental principles of international environmental law, in addition to changes in its modes of implementation and the actors involved in those processes. This article also highlights the increasing activity at the interface with other fields of law and policy that has expanded the sites at which international environmental law is made, applied and implemented. It concludes by asking whether this body of international law remains ‘fit for purpose’ as it seeks to adapt to constraints on its nature and operation imposed by the current architecture of international law and politics.