The United Nations Security Council’s Legislative and Enforcement Powers and Climate Change

Alan Boyle, Jacques Hartmann, Annalisa Savaresi (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
120 Downloads (Pure)


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 for the multilateral climate change framework, but, despite its rapid entry into force, it is still too early to tell whether the Paris Agreement will prove to be an effective and successful intergovernmental framework for tackling climate change. Nor is it necessarily the only relevant institution in the climate change regime. 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 therefore holds 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. Firstly, the chapter analyses the powers and practice of the Council both as a global legislator, and in enforcing states’ obligations. Secondly, 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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate Change and the UN Security Council
EditorsShirley Scott, Charlotte Ku
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9781785364648
ISBN (Print)9781785364631
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2018


  • Climate change
  • Paris Agreement
  • UN Security Council
  • international law
  • law-making
  • security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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