The Paris climate change conference has been overcast with doubts regarding the legal status of the pending deal. After US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the Paris climate deal would “definitively” not be a treaty, the Obama administration has now been warned by the EU that the Paris climate deal must be legally binding.

A spokeswoman for the EU’s climate commissioner, Miguel Arias Canete, told the Guardian, “The Paris agreement must be an international legally binding agreement. The title of the agreement is yet to be decided but it will not affect its legally binding form.”

Laurent Fabius, French foreign minister, had said earlier on Nov 12 that lawful elements in the 2015 Paris climate deal were obvious. Kerry was “confused” about the point, Fabius had suggested. On Nov 11, Kerry told The Financial Times that the agreement was “definitely not going to be a treaty” and there were “not going to be legally binding reduction targets like Kyoto.”

However, the legal status of the elements in the agreement is being fiercely contested in discussions that have reached a very sensitive point,” reports the Guardian. Privately, officials say that countries are ready to take on sudden challenge during the last days of negotiations when a pact will be impending.

“The political-level talks in Paris start on 7 December so we still have some time to sort this out,” said Canete’s spokeswoman. “What still needs to be negotiated is what provisions within the Paris agreement would be legally binding.”

The Kyoto protocol of 1992, the only previous legally binding climate change agreement, had been criticised by the US on the claim that it exempts developing countries and would have a negative impact on the country’s economy.

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