Cite as: Benoit Mayer, International Law Obligations on Climate Change Mitigation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Oxford Monographs in International Law series, 2022)
Recent years have witnessed exciting developments in international negotiations, litigation, and scholarship about climate change, but doctrinal research in the field remains in its infancy. In particular, little is known about how fast states are required to limit and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
The first part of the book identifies the relevant obligations through an analysis of treaties, custom, and other sources of international law. Beyond express quantified commitments contained for instance in nationally determined contributions, the book sheds light on the existence of general obligations of due diligence. While these general obligations are difficult to interpret, they are often more demanding.
The second part explores how these general obligations can be applied objectively, for instance by a court, in concrete cases. Instead of an improbable judicial assessment of a state’s requisite level of mitigation action, the book shows the possibility of assessing a state’s conduct based on the measures that general mitigation obligations entail. These measures relate to corollary duties of cooperation, vigilance, and consistency.
This book presents a first comprehensive doctrinal study of states’ obligations on climate change mitigation. It shows that such obligations arise not only from climate treaties, but also from customary international law, unilateral declarations, and, possibly, human rights treaties. It also explores the interactions between these multiple obligations.
Table of contents:
Identification of Mitigation Obligations
3. Customary Obligations
4. Obligations Implied from Human Rights Treaties
Applications of General Mitigation Obligations
5. The Nature of Mitigation Obligations
6. Requisite Level of Mitigation Action
7. Appropriate Measures
8. General Conclusion
- By Ji Hua, in (2022) 22(1) Chinese Journal of International Law 193-196, : “Mayer’s monograph responds to the ongoing quest for application of positive climate law by helping clarify many long-standing doctrines”.
- By Alexander Zahar, “The Nature of Climate Law”, in (2023) 35(2) Journal of Environmental Law 295-306, (article review). See also my response to Zahar in The Existence of Climate Law: One More Response to Zahar (working paper, 2023).