Climate Change and the UN Security Council
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Climate Change and the UN Security Council

Edited by Shirley V. Scott and Charlotte Ku

In this forward-looking book, the authors consider how the United Nations Security Council could assist in addressing the global security challenges brought about by climate change. Contributing authors contemplate how the UNSC could prepare for this role; progressing the debate from whether and why the council should act on climate insecurity, to how? Scholars, activists, and policy makers will find this book a fertile source of innovative thinking and an invaluable basis on which to develop policy.
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Chapter 6: The United Nations Security Council’s legislative and enforcement powers and climate change

Alan Boyle, Jacques Hartmann and Annalisa Savaresi

Abstract

Since the adoption of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), international climate change law-making has chiefly been the prerogative of the treaty bodies established under the Convention and its Protocol. The adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015 is an important step forward, but it is still too early to tell whether it will deliver an effective and successful intergovernmental process for tackling climate change. Given the urgency of climate change and the glacial pace of multilateral climate law-making, the idea of exploiting the United Nations Security Council’s legislative and enforcement powers to lead global efforts on climate change maintains a significant appeal. This chapter focuses on the use of the Council’s legislative and enforcement powers to help states get out of the climate change law-making quagmire. First, the chapter analyses the powers and practice of the Council both as a global legislator, and in enforcing states’ obligations. Second, the chapter considers how existing Council law-making and enforcement powers can be applied to climate change. The chapter concludes by reflecting on advantages and disadvantages of Council’s legislative and enforcement action in relation to climate change.

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