International agreements and cooperation
Definition (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
International law connects nation states in a framework of agreements that implement recognized principles, norms, rules, and procedures. Subjects of public international law include sovereign nation states, international organizations, and movements of national liberation. Sources of international law are customs, accepted standards of human behavior, and treaties. The design of international agreements is voluntary, but once concluded they are binding instruments to achieve collective benefits that states would not achieve unilaterally. To either open a new set of options that offer beneficial opportunities or to restrain options that are recognized as harmful, state governments abide by the terms of an international agreement, which in either case is a recognition of mutual interdependence. An ultimate goal of international law is to facilitate win-win solutions through cooperation.
The importance of international agreements is well demonstrated by the prisoner’s dilemma in game theory. Here two actors are in a better situation if they both cooperate rather than do not cooperate. If either side individually gives up cooperation for individual benefits, the joint outcome is worse for both. To prevent actors from non-cooperation to maintain mutual benefits requires agreement based on communication, verification, and enforcement. To discourage violations of an agreement, they need to be detected and the expected benefits from...
(The entire section is 235 words.)
Significance for Climate Change (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
International agreements are essential in climate policy to address the tragedy of the commons regarding the atmosphere. They impose emission constraints for each member state and create opportunities for technology cooperation, capital flows, and trading markets.
The law of treaties defines the rules for legally binding agreements between states, which is codified in the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. A treaty is a written agreement between two or more sovereign states in which the parties involved agree to abide by certain specified procedures and standards of conduct, which include the signature by an authorized State representative; the ratification process by parliamentarian bodies to enter a treaty into binding national legislation, independent of the political leadership; and the entry into force upon fulfillment of specified conditions, such as the number of ratifying states. During this process, the status of a member state changes from a negotiating state to a state signatory, ratifying state, and ultimately state party after entry into force. A state that has signed a treaty is bound to it and is obliged to refrain from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of a treaty even if it has not yet ratified it. A state can change agreements before ratification and announce that it is withdrawing its signature, after which it is no longer bound....
(The entire section is 649 words.)
Further Reading (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
Feaver, D., and N. Durrant. “A Regulatory Analysis of International Climate Change Regulation.” Law and Policy 30, no. 4 (October, 2008): 394-422. Examines the regulatory architecture and coherence of global climate change regulations.
Scheffran, J. “Preventing Dangerous Climate Change.” In Global Warming and Climate Change, edited by V. I. Grover. Enfield, N.H.: Science Publishers, 2008. Analyzes the implications of Article 2 of the UNFCCC.
Stein, J. von. “The International Law and Politics of Climate Change: Ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 52 (2008): 243. Discusses the challenge to design mechanisms that deter defection without deterring participation; emphasizes international social networks and domestic nongovernmental organizations.
Verheyen, R. Climate Change Damage and International Law: Prevention Duties and State Responsibility. Boston: Martinus Nijhoff, 2005. Comprehensive assessment of the legal duties of states regarding damage from anthropogenic climate change. Analyzes the legal duties of states to prevent climate change damage and international liability to breaches of these duties. Advocates an internationally negotiated solution to the climate issue.
Yamin, F. The International Climate Change Regime: A Guide to Rules, Institutions, and Procedures. New...
(The entire section is 220 words.)