Peter Lawrence & Daryl Wong, “Soft law in the Paris Climate Agreement: Strength or weakness?”

(2017) 26:3 Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law 276

An intriguing article, drawing distinctions between binding and non-binding obligations. But isn’t an obligation, by definition, binding? I disagree on the definition of the Paris Agreement, a treaty, as a source of “soft law.” The second sentence of article 4(2) of the Paris Agreement, read in different official languages, seems to indicate a binding obligation, although probably not an obligation of result. (Binding) obligations may also be created by NDCs themselves, depending on the circumstances surrounding each of them, as unilateral declarations made, often, in rather clear and specific terms with an apparent intention of being bound.