There is no integrated, comprehensive regime governing efforts to limit the extent of climate change. Instead, there is a regime complex: a loosely coupled set of specific regimes. We describe the regime complex for climate change and seek to explain it, using functional, strategic, and organizational arguments. It is likely that such a regime complex will persist: efforts to build an effective, legitimate, and adaptable comprehensive regime are unlikely to succeed. Building on this analysis, we argue that a climate change regime complex, if it meets specified criteria, has advantages over any politically feasible comprehensive regime, particularly with respect to adaptability and flexibility. These characteristics are particularly important in an environment of high uncertainty, such as in the case of climate change where the most demanding international commitments are interdependent yet governments vary widely in their interest and ability to implement such commitments.
"Climate Accession Deals: New Strategies for Taming Growth of Greenhouse Gases in Developing Countries"
"Effective strategies for managing the dangers of global climate change are proving very difficult to design and implement. They require governments to undertake a portfolio of efforts that are politically challenging because they require large expenditures today for uncertain benefits that accrue far into the future. That portfolio includes tasks such as putting a price on carbon, fixing the tendency for firms to under-invest in the public good of new technologies and knowledge that will be needed for achieving cost-effective and deep cuts in emissions; and preparing for a changing climate through investments in adaptation and climate engineering. Many of those efforts require international coordination that has proven especially difficult to mobilize and sustain because international institutions are usually weak and thus unable to force collective action...."
September 5, 2007
"Victor Proposal: Fragmented Carbon Markets and Reluctant Nations: Implications for the Design of Effective Architectures"
David Victor proposed a climate policy architecture with a varying geometry of participation, limited initially to the few most pivotal countries in climate change. He recommends the development of an agreement in a smaller negotiating venue, such as former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin’s proposal for an L20 – a forum of the leaders of twenty key industrialized and developing countries. Countries participating in this effort would pledge a package of domestic climate policies and measures.