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The International Regime
Complex for Climate Change
Robert O. Keohane
Professor of International Affairs
Princeton University
10 February 2010
Princeton University
The Regime Complex for Climate Change
Problem Diversity: Four Situations
1) The first-mover advantage situation.
– Example: green technology.
2) The CPR co-benefits situation.
– Example: the ozone regime.
3) The CPR benefits exclusion situation.
– Example: the ocean oil-pollution regime (MARPOL).
4) The small-group reciprocity situation.
– Example: The North Pacific Fur Seal Convention (1911).
Evaluation Criteria for
Regime Complexes
1) Coherence: compatibility and mutual reinforcement.
2) Accountability: some actors have the right to hold
other actors to a set of standards, to judge whether
they have fulfilled their responsibilities in light of these
standards, and to impose sanctions if they determine
that these responsibilities have not been met.
3) Effectiveness: appropriate rules, with a reasonable
level of compliance with rules.
Evaluation Criteria for
Regime Complexes
(fig.3 [cont.])
4) Determinacy: the rules have “a readily
ascertainable normative content.”
5) Sustainability: it would require large shocks to
destroy or fundamentally alter the regime.
6) Epistemic quality: the consistency between
regime rules and scientific knowledge and their
capacity to revise both their rules and their terms
of accountability.