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The Paris Agreement on Climate Change: Transatlantic Perspectives

donderdag, 7 april, 2016 - 12:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Karel Van Miert Building (IES) Pleinlaan 5
Conference Room Rome
Institute for European Studies
IES Policy Forum

The United States and the European Union worked together closely in achieving a high level of ambition at the Paris Climate Change Summit last year. Achieving this united front required bridging some fundamental differences of view on the nature and importance of the legal form of the Paris Agreement. 

At the Policy Forum, Professor David Wirth of Boston College Law School, will explore, from a US perspective, at what cost this accommodation was reached, as measured in the durability of the US economy-wide emissions reduction pledge for 2025 (minus 26-28% from 2005 levels) and the likelihood of its effective implementation.  The US Supreme Court’s recent stay of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan raises the stakes regarding implementation and highlights the risks involved.

This presentation will thoroughly explain the domestic legal and political constraints, unique to the US legal system, at work behind the scenes in shaping the form and content of the US position on the Paris Agreement.  It will analyse the role of the Congress, including the US Senate, and the courts, and examine the extent to which the Obama Administration has fully utilized its executive power both domestically and internationally. 

Jacob Werksman, Principal Adviser, DG-CLIMA, European Commission, will set the stage for the discussion by responding with a European perspective on the legal character of the Paris outcome and on next steps for the EU and for the US in implementing the Paris Agreement.

  • David Wirth, Professor of Law, Boston College Law School
  • Jacob Werksman, Principal Advisor, European Commission, DG Climate Action
  • Sebastian Oberthür, Professor, Institute for European Studies, VUB

Registration & Venue

The policy forum starts at 12:00h and will end at approximately 14:00h. A sandwich lunch will be provided between 12:00h and 12:30h.Participation is free of charge and open to all but due to space limitations, registration is mandatory.


Institute for European Studies

Karel Van Miert Building
Conference Rooms Rome & Lisbon
Pleinlaan 5
1050 Brussels

More information about the event can be found on the IES website.