pro bono partners reflect on Paris Climate Conference


As world leaders gathered this week for the annual UN Climate Change conference, DLA Piper deployed a team of eight partners and lawyers from its global offices to Paris, to represent several developing countries, coalitions of governments and non-state actors, all on a pro bono basis.

COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate change, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

Stephen Webb, head of DLA Piper's Energy sector in Asia Pacific, commented: "It's clear that positive strides have been made in Paris and already the momentum created has given rise to increased business confidence. This is likely to cause a rapid acceleration towards unleashing the private sector investment into low carbon or carbon neutral measures needed to meet the goals required."
"A key element of any Paris treaty will be the Intended National Development Contributions (INDCs) committed by over 150 nations leading into COP21 as they will signal to business where investments should be directed. The INDCs are currently supported by the latest draft text, which contains an overall purpose of encouraging parties to peak greenhouse gas emissions and guiding global investments towards "GHG emissions neutrality" in the second half of the century.

"After years of failure to agree a deal to combat the adverse effects of climate change, the window of opportunity for action is closing. Achieving agreement at the UN talks is vital to ensuring the stability and growth of the energy sector on a global scale."

Andreas Gunst, a partner in the Energy, Projects & Finance practice in London and Vienna, commented: "I have no doubt that the agreement coming out of Paris will shape and influence the businesses of our clients to come. We expect to see the creation of new practice areas, such as adaptation and mitigation finance, and an increase in the role of public sector funding and financing initiatives. Partners and associates from across DLA Piper have contributed to our presence at COP21 and, as a firm, we are well placed to leverage our experience in this sector to aid our clients. It's been great to see that there is so much support and interest from within the firm to develop this offering further."

A full list of DLA Piper attendees to COP21 is as follows: partners Andreas Gunst, George Gigounas, Cendrine Delivré and Stephen Webb with counsel Alice Pezard, associate Jesse Medlong and solicitors Joanna Zhou and Sadhie Abayasekara.