Edited by Shirley V. Scott and Charlotte Ku
Chapter 6: The United Nations Security Council’s legislative and enforcement powers and climate change
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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