The Fragmentation of Global Climate Governance
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The Fragmentation of Global Climate Governance

Consequences and Management of Regime Interactions

Harro van Asselt

‘How do the different international institutions addressing climate change interact? What are the actual and potential synergies and conflicts? What are the most effective strategies to manage institutional interplay? Harro van Asselt’s expertise in both international law and international relations, as well as his intimate knowledge of the policy-making process, make him ideally equipped to address these fundamental questions. Based on detailed case studies, he provides a wide-ranging, lucid, and theoretically sophisticated study of climate change governance. Essential reading for international lawyers and international relations scholars alike.’ – Dan Bodansky, Arizona State University, US
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Chapter 9: Regime interactions in global climate governance

Harro van Asselt


This chapter takes a bird's eye view of regime interactions in global climate governance by discussing and contrasting the case studies and situating the observations and findings of the previous chapters in a broader context. The chapter reviews the different types of interactions that emerged from the case studies, as well as the possibilities and limitations of various ways of interaction management. The overall purpose of this chapter is to provide insights into the promises and pitfalls of legal techniques and institutional coordination in managing the outcomes of regime interactions in global climate governance. Existing studies of regime interactions have focused primarily on negotiated, treaty-based regimes, most of which constitute 'hard law'. This observation is largely valid also for studies of the interactions between the UN climate regime and other regimes. For example, in addition to the case studies examined in this book, treaty-based regimes covered in the literature on interactions in global climate governance include: the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands; the Montreal Protocol on ozone depletion; the World Heritage Convention; international investment treaties; human rights instruments; international law on refugees; and the law of the sea. This book in part echoes the dominance of this hard law focus through its focus on interactions involving the biodiversity and trade regimes. And yet there are also important and complex interactions between soft and hard law in global climate governance.

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