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The Regime Complex for Climate Change

David G. Victor

UC San Diego, IR/PS

Robert O. Keohane

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

July 20, 2010

APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper

There is no integrated 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. This institutional form is likely to persist; efforts to build a comprehensive regime are unlikely to succeed, but narrower institutions focused on particular aspects of the climate change problem are already thriving. 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. Adaptability and flexibility are particularly important in a setting, such as climate change policy, in which the most demanding international commitments are interdependent yet governments vary widely in their interest and ability to implement them.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 28

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Date posted: July 19, 2010 ; Last revised: July 25, 2010

Suggested Citation

Victor, David G. and Keohane, Robert O., The Regime Complex for Climate Change (July 20, 2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1643813

Contact Information

David G. Victor (Contact Author)
UC San Diego, IR/PS ( email )
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States
Robert O. Keohane
Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
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