Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

David VanderZwaag


This dissertation considers the evolution, current state, and future prognosis of the global climate change regime under the umbrella of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The focus of the dissertation is on State compliance with the Kyoto Protocol. Compliance is considered from the perspective of the internal compliance regime developed under the Kyoto Protocol as well as a select set of potential external international law influences. The dissertation concludes with an assessment of the level of compliance to be expected and its potential influence on the future of the climate change regime. Implications for international environmental law more generally are also considered. To provide the necessary context, the state of international environmental law generally and the climate change regime under the UNFCCC more specifically is assessed. This is followed by an assessment of likely levels of compliance with Kyoto considering a number of internal and external influences on compliance with Kyoto. The focus of internal factors is on an assessment of the compliance system under the Kyoto Protocol within a theoretical context of rational choice versus norm based compliance theories. The consideration of external influences includes a consideration of links between the climate change regime and the World Trade Organization, the UN Law of the Sea Convention, International Human Rights Norms, and Multilateral Environmental Agreements. These influences are considered both in terms of their potential contribution to compliance with Kyoto and more generally their possible influence on the future evolution of the climate change regime. The dissertation concludes with an assessment of the impact of the Kyoto Protocol on compliance, on the future of the climate change regime, and on the future of international environmental law more generally.