A reaction paper is a response to a question from the list. Your reaction paper should be written in English; its length (excluding footnotes and references) should be between 750 and 1.000 words. Your paper will be evaluated on the basis of the three following considerations.

Firstly, each reaction paper should reflect your knowledge of the particular issue. Your research could start with the documents provided on this website but you should also look beyond. Look in particular for primary documents (treaties, COP decisions, etc.), if relevant.

Secondly, each reaction paper should provide a reasoned response to the question asked. This response should not consist in a summary of what others have said or written: it should be your own response. The response you give (“yes,” “no,” “perhaps,” etc.) matters much less than your ability to defend it in a convincing way. What is expected from you is a demonstration of your ability to reason logically.

Thirdly, each reaction paper should be written and presented in an efficient way. While English is not your native language, you should do your best to use an appropriate grammar. Reaction papers need also to be structured and organized in an efficient way to convey your argument. In particular:

  • Think carefully about the general organization of your paper. For most questions, it may be advisable to start with some background information before exposing your argumentation. More generally, do think about how many paragraphs to use and how they add to one another.
  • Think carefully about what to include and what not to include in your paper. Stick to the question: do not include information that are not useful to your response. The paper is short: it should be dense, clear and concise.
  • Think carefully about the words you use. International and global, for instance, are different terms, and universal brings yet another nuance: it is important that such terminological choice be made consciously.


Plagiarism is strictly prohibited; systematic controls will be made on every reaction paper. Reaction papers must be written entirely by the student and develop the students’ own arguments – not copy or reformulate another author’s words or ideas. In particular, no sentence or parts of the sentence can be copied from any other materials, whether distributed to the teacher or found by the student. Quotations should be indicated with quotation marks and they must explicitly be attribute to their original author, as in the following two examples:

According to article 2 of the UNFCCC, the “ultimate objective” of the climate regime is to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”

Philippe Sands and Jacqueline Peel regard the no-harm principle as the “cornerstone of international environmental law” (at 191).

The use of quotations should be limited to relevant authorities. Quotations should not be overused.


Due time: reaction papers must be handed in at least five days before the corresponding session. For instance, the 5th session will start on 12 April at 2:55: reaction papers under the 5th session need to be handed in before 7 April at 2:55. Any delay will be taken into account in your evaluation.

Handing-in procedure: email your reaction paper in a Microsoft Word file to <>, with ‘CCL: reaction paper’ in the subject. Make sure to include your name (Chinese and pingyin) and the question you answered in both the email and its attachment. Do contact me again if I do not confirm reception within 24 hours.

Circulation to other students: selected reaction papers will be posted on the page of the corresponding session and accessible to all course participants. You are encouraged to read these reaction papers when preparing for a session. Be also prepared to respond to a few questions regarding your reaction paper during the following session.