ISSN: 2658-9346 | Arab Journal of International Law

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Thursday 17 June 2021

Call for papers: Climate Change at the Crossroads of Science


 Climate change, long disputed, is now scientifically proven. The consequences it has on our environment, including our quality of life, are only just beginning to be understood. Scientific knowledge is being organized, but the entire fields of investigation remain unexplored. This topic has raised so many controversies for the implementation of solutions.

Public policies are emerging at the level of States and the international community, but they are not up to the challenges raised.

The question is how to stop them, or at least to reduce them. Will the measures that have been taken at various international summits, notably Kyoto, Copenhagen and, recently, Paris, be enough to stop the machine? This is not certain, because these measures are timid and remain subject to the goodwill of States. In other words, it would be enough for a single powerful nation, such as the United States, to denounce them for everything to start again. But what if technology could heal the planet? Geoengineering (deliberate manipulation of the climate) is among the solutions being explored to deal with this problem[1].

Anthropogenic climate change is a major issue in science and geopolitics, affecting a growing number of research communities, partners and political actors. In the same sense, a unique intergovernmental body of expertise - the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (now IPCC) - has played a decisive role in the reconfiguration of the field and tends today to become an example of international expertise. Today, this discipline is increasingly discussed in scientific circles[2].

The UN estimates that the latest scientific assessment of ozone depletion, conducted in 2018, shows that parts of the ozone layer have been recovering at a rate of 1 to 3 percent per decade since 2000. At the projected rate, Northern Hemisphere ozone will fully recover by the 2030s. The Southern Hemisphere will follow in the 2050s and the polar regions by 2060[3]. However, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is calling for "continued vigilance" on the ozone layer, as climate change could slow its recovery[4].

The current pandemic of COVID-19 has highlighted the close spatial relationships between ecosystems, human activities and health in many ways. In this regard, the effects of climate change on health have been widely discussed; climate change must be seen primarily as a factor amplifying already existing health problems[5].

From the first signs of climate change, states have been faced with two strategies: Mitigation or Adaptation[6]. In other words, they must address the anthropogenic sources that promote climate change to minimize its magnitude or adapt to climate change. Indeed, the last decades have been particularly devoted to the mitigation strategy by establishing an international system of control of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is clear that the results obtained by opting for the first strategy now oblige States to seriously consider the adaptation strategy, which also consists of adapting to climate change.

The Paris Climate Agreement, signed on December 12, 2015 at the end of COP 21, sets the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C, targeting the 1.5°C mark. It also provides for an increase in the budget of the Green Climate Fund adopted in 2010 at the Cancún Conference, with the aim of reaching $100 billion per year in 2020; a new floor will be set in 2025.

Encouraging green investments and limiting CO2 emissions from traditional economic activity will require significant changes in the regulatory environment for all sectors of the economy, including energy production, agriculture, transportation, industrial production and services. In a similar vein, the European Union, through its New Green Deal initiative, and U.S. President Joe Biden have committed to achieving carbon neutrality for the European and U.S. economies by 2050. These commitments will require a reduction in CO2 emissions and a transition to a global green economy. At the same time, drastic measures will have to be taken to make CO2 emissions more expensive and to phase out or significantly reduce the use of traditional energy sources, namely oil and gas.

However, the international legal regime on climate change is hampered by its non-coercive nature, and the lack of compliance with commitments. As an illustration, with regard to the Paris Agreement, in 2019, of the 197 states that have ratified the treaty, only 58 have adopted measures to reduce their GHG emissions by 2030 and 16 of these have taken appropriate action with their climate commitments[7].

The COP 26 to be held in November 2021 in Glasgow, UK, will present a crucial opportunity to discuss and finalize the remaining issues of the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Moreover, because of the legal nature of the Agreement, there are a multitude of more permissive secondary legislation decisions that "recommend", "invite", "encourage", etc.[8]. The norms are even often interpreted by the States as simple indications or general directives[9].

The humanities and social sciences will have to enter an era of profound transformation if they are to continue to play a useful role in environmental protection. It may be easy to integrate the general concept of climate change into public policies or regulations. However, a paradigm shift seems inevitable to make adaptation measures effective and capable of increasing people's resilience.

Adaptation to climate change will require the contribution of several fields of the humanities and social sciences, including: political science, international relations, public security, economics, and immigration, land use planning, environment, new information and communication technologies (ICT), etc.

Global climate change is causing seasonal and permanent internal and international migration. Although the distinction between political refugees, economic migrants and environmental migrants is difficult to make, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that 150 million people will be forced to move by 2050 due to global warming and climate change[10]. The International Organization for Migration (IOM), for its part, suggests that 200 million environmental migrants[11] will be displaced. However, today, there is no legal instrument, even indirect, to ensure the protection of these migrants.

Climate change has had severe and irreversible effects on the natural systems that underpin the sustainability of human well-being. Not only will climate change destroy human and physical capital, but it will also cause dramatic changes in ecosystems and economic activities[12].

The responsibility of companies in the increase of greenhouse gas emissions is important, especially in the energy, industry, real estate and transportation sectors. The real estate sector, mainly through its energy consumption, is responsible for about 40% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions[13]. According to experts, the energy sector is also responsible for two thirds of total greenhouse gas emissions today[14]. The increase in energy needs will therefore have irreversible impacts on the climate if we do not move towards carbon neutral energy sources. International air transport is particularly affected by CO2 emissions, which are currently responsible for about 2% of global emissions. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) trend scenario projections, GHG emissions from the sector are expected to increase by 300% by 2050[15]. How can companies be encouraged to reduce their emissions? What are the most appropriate tools (incentives or constraints, legal or economic tools, regulation or self-regulation)? How can multinational companies be better understood from a legal point of view? What are the specific challenges of the African continent?

This collective edition will be an opportunity to conduct a multidisciplinary reflection, to cross the views and maintain a collaborative dynamic between different stakeholders. The proposals of communication must be in line with the following track themes. However, other proposals for papers may be accepted under certain conditions. Proposals dealing with developing countries and climate change will be particularly appreciated. The track themes are:

1. Humanities, law and climate change;

2. International environmental protection instruments and climate change;

3. Climate change and geoengineering;

4. Climate change, adaptation and mitigation;

5. Paris Agreement and secondary legislation;

6. Climate change and migratory flows;

7. Business and climate change;

8. Green economies and climate change;

9. Science, expertise and international law on climate change;

10. Climate change and state responsibility;

11. Courts, law and climate change.


Important Dates and Submission Details:

-       September 10, 2021: Abstract submission (300 words responding to what, why, and how?) including full name, affiliation, email, and short bio.

-       September 25, 2021: Notification of the abstracts + writing guidelines.

-       December 31, 2021: Final paper submission.

-       2022, Publication.


Note: The owners of published papers cannot claim any material privilege for publication.

Initial and final papers shall be sent to the following e-mail:

[1] Ait Ali Nadia, La géo-ingénierie climatique : approche complémentaire ou contradictoire aux efforts d’atténuation des émissions de gaz à effet de serre ?, consulté le 18/5/2021 sur

[2] Dalmedico Amy Dahan & Guillemot Hélène, « Changement climatique : Dynamiques scientifiques, expertise, enjeux géopolitiques », Sociologie du travail [Online], Vol. 48 - n° 3 | Juillet-Septembre 2006, Online since 21 March 2008, connection on 18 May 2021. URL :

[3] « La couche d’ozone est sur la voie de la guérison mais il faut rester vigilant (ONU), consulté le 18/05/2021 sur

[3] Les changements climatiques retarderont le rétablissement de la couche d’ozone, consulté le 18/05/2021 sur

[4] Les changements climatiques retarderont le rétablissement de la couche d’ozone, consulté le 18/05/2021 sur

[5] Mcmichael A.J. & al., Climate change and the health of nations: famines, fevers, and the fate of populations (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).

[6] Richard Elsa, L’adaptation aux changements climatiques (Paris : PU Rennes, 201).

[7] Claudia Cohen, Accord de Paris : pourquoi les pays ne sont pas à la hauteur de leurs engagements, consulté le 18/05/2021 sur

[8] El Bazzim Rachid, La nature juridique des CDN, in Ckakrani Hussein et Ghali Mohammed, Changements climatiques : vers une compréhension des conflits et des stratégies climatiques (Marrakech, centre Cadi Ayyad, 2018), pp. 33-64.

[9] Lassus saint — Geniès Géraud, Droit international du climat et aspect économique du défi climatique (Paris : Éditions A. Pedone, 2017), p.72.


[10] Capelle, Guillaume. « Migrations et environnement. L’État confronté au changement climatique », Thierry de Montbrial éd., Gouverner aujourd’hui ? Ramses 2013. Institut français des relations internationales, 2012, pp. 44-47

[11] Baher Kamal, Climate Migrants Might Reach One Billion by 2050, consulté le 18/5/2021 sur

[11] Dogru & al., “Climate change: Vulnerability and resilience of tourism and the entire economy”, Tourism Management, vol. 72, 2019, pp. 292-305.

[12] Dogru & al., “Climate change: Vulnerability and resilience of tourism and the entire economy”, Tourism Management, vol. 72, 2019, pp. 292-305

[13] UNEP, Les émissions du secteur du bâtiment ont atteint un niveau record, mais la reprise à faible intensité de carbone après la pandémie peut…, consulté le 18/5/2021 sur

[14] L’énergie dans le monde, consulté le 18/05/2021 sur

[15] Transport aérien : lancement d’une feuille de route pour développer des biocarburants de 2e génération, consulté le 18/05/2021 sur



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