Challenges and prospects an effective compliance system

Like other key elements of the climate regime, such as the flexibility mechanisms, the climate compliance system is still in a formative phase. The Marrakesh Accords flesh out the broad contours provided by the Kyoto Protocol, but the institutions defined here have yet to constitute themselves and begin fulfilling their functions. Accordingly, an objection that it is too early to evaluate the system would not be unreasonable. On the other hand, while the proof of the value of the Kyoto compliance system lies in what it actually delivers, we might make a qualified judgement at this stage nonetheless, based on the system's characteristics. The fact that the Marrakesh Accords provide a rather detailed framework for the climate compliance system is exactly why the contributors to this book have volunteered their views on the likely effectiveness of this system.

The Kyoto compliance system is part of a broader international institution, the climate regime - and as students of regime effectiveness have shown, institutions can influence behaviour that is relevant to addressing international challenges, such as global warming, in several distinctive ways.10 One way is to shape the incentives of parties by rendering non-compliance more costly or adherence with international norms more profitable. This 'logic of consequentially' is emphasized by contributors to the so-called enforcement school in the study of international compliance (eg Barrett, 2003; Downs et al, 1996).11 As argued by the so-called managerial school, however, the level of compliance with international agreements is generally quite good despite the fact that most international regimes have paid relatively little attention to enforcement (Chayes and Chayes, 1995). This conclusion has been supported by empirical studies of international environmental agreements (Brown Weiss and Jacobson, 1999; Jacobson and Brown Weiss, 1998). According to the Chayeses, the explanation is that compliance is generally not determined through deliberate decisions by states, made on the basis of expected costs and benefits. Instead, it is largely the result of norm-based behaviour and bureaucratic routines. Similarly, Franck (1990) emphasizes that compliance is the result - at least in part -of the relevant rule being perceived as legitimate by those to whom it is addressed.

These various processes and dynamics that underly the effectiveness of international regimes are relevant when examining the role of the Kyoto compliance system in overcoming challenges to effective verification, review and response in the climate context.

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