The Climate Change Regime consists of too much soft law, argue Francesco Sindico and Julie Gibson in their chapter.

In November 2017, the 23rd Conference of the Parties of the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 23) takes place in Bonn. It remains to be seen which developments will mark this year's event and whether it will enter into history in a similar way as the COP 21 linked with the Paris Agreement. The parties at COP 23 will also adopt important documents that will form a constituent part of the international climate change regime. However, as Francesco Sindico and Julie Gibson argue in the chapter “Soft, Complex, and Fragmented International Climate Change Practice: What Implications for International Trade Law?” in the book “China´s Influence on Non-Trade Concerns in International Economic Law”, most of these documents fall under the scope of soft law, even though they at least declaratory aspire to be binding for the parties. The Bali Action Plan, the Copenhagen Accord or the Durban Platform represent examples of such predominantly soft law documents, sometimes making an impression of toothless compromises falling short of achieving a significant breakthrough in the fight with climate change. So far, the Paris Agreement seems to be closest to setting a significant milestone in the field of global efforts to address climate change. However, even the Paris Agreement represents a mixture of hard and soft obligations. Global efforts to tackle climate change depend on the goodwill of the States to undertake collective action. However, such complex negotiations consisting of many different countries, some developed, some developing ones, necessarily involve making certain compromises. The world is moving forward in its efforts to combat climate change; however, these steps are too slow, and nature does not wait for global leaders to settle their differences. It remains to be seen whether COP 23 will remain faithful to the old tradition of making one step forward or two steps back or will similarly as COP 21 come with bolder action.