Taking the Paris Agreement Forward

In Bonn, Germany, the international community began its work to implement the historic climate change treaty—known as the Paris Agreement, which was agreed upon in December 2015. While setting forth significant high level commitments, the Paris Agreement is light on details and delegates the extensive work needed to develop the actual implementation of the Paris Agreement to UNFCCC-convened working groups. In Bonn, the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA 1) will meet along with continuing sessions of other subsidiary bodies that already exist under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (e.g., 44th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice). The directive to the parties in Bonn is to take steps to operationalize the Paris Agreement as soon as possible and take forward the work programmes set forth in the Paris COP Decisions 1/CP.21 in a comprehensive, coherent and balanced manner.

Of course, all of the work in Bonn presupposes that the Paris Agreement will come into force. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol which took nearly ten years to become effective, the ratification of the Paris Agreement is occurring swiftly and with some concerned that the effective date of the agreement could actually predate the work programmes needed to operationalize the agreement. The various bodies meeting in Bonn will be pressured to make good progress on the work needed in advance of the entry of force of the Paris Agreement. The work in Bonn will also include preparations for the first session of the Conference of the Parties meeting as the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA), which will occur in November 2016 in Morocco, Marrakesh.

Baker & McKenzie has three members of its Environmental Markets Team in Bonn—Rick Saines, Martijn Wilder and Ilona Miller.

For an in-depth analysis of the Paris Agreement, please review our recent Client Briefing.


Rick Saines heads the North America Climate Change and Environmental Markets Practice and serves on the steering committee for the Firm's Global Renewable Energy and Clean Technology Practice. He is widely published and globally recognized as a leading climate change lawyer, bringing over fifteen years of experience on climate change law matters advising multinational companies, financial institutions, funds and project sponsors on carbon and environmental market transactions within the international, regional and voluntary markets. Mr. Saines also advises major global corporations on climate change policy, sustainable development and global corporate greenhouse gas compliance and management. He is recognized by Chambers USA and Chambers Global as a leading climate change lawyer. He serves as Vice-Chair in the International Emissions Trading Association and served as a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council for Climate Change and was the former Co-Chair of the Renewable Energy Resources Subcommittee of the American Bar Association. Mr. Saines routinely advises on leading carbon market transactions, both within the US and across multiple jurisdictions throughout the world. He has considerable experience in the areas of forestry and terrestrial carbon, U.S. biofuels and renewable energy incentives and regulations, and the laws and policies concerning carbon capture and storage. He is a co-founder of Avoided Deforestation Partners.
Marisa Martin is a senior associate in the Firm’s Global Climate Change and Environmental Markets Practice Group based in Chicago. Ms. Martin advises multinational companies, project sponsors and investors in connection with all aspects of environmental and carbon regulatory developments in the U.S. and internationally. She also advises on the full spectrum of transactional activities underpinned by the emerging environmental markets globally with a special focus on renewables, avoided deforestation/REDD+ and the California carbon market. Ms. Martin is a Vice-Chair for the American Bar Association’s Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Ecosystem Committee. She was named “Associate to Watch” in Climate Change by Chambers USA. She is licensed to practice in California and Illinois.

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