International Regimes and Environmental Policy: An Evaluation of the Role of International Law
Lynne M. Jurgielewicz
The successful implementation of international environmental policy has been the subject of much recent research within various disciplines. One promising approach for cross-disciplinary explorations of environmental policy invokes the concept of international regimes.
Although international regimes were addressed much earlier by international law (IL) as a means of describing the prospect of legal regulation in unregulated areas ( Goldie, 1962), 1 the theory has gained prominence primarily within the discipline of international relations (IR), where it was developed to explain stability in the international system despite the absence or decline of a hegemon ( Krasner, 1983a; Keohane, 1984; Young, 1989b). It is only recently that regime theory has again become the focus of legal scholars searching for methods to induce international cooperation ( Abbott, 1989; Williamson, 1990; Gehring, 1990). 2 This requires the integration of the disciplines of IR and IL, the relations between them having been one of mutual neglect, as noted by Hurrell and Kingsbury:
Regime theorists have tended to neglect the particular status of legal rules, to downplay the links between specific sets of rules and the broader structure of the international legal system, and to underrate the complexity and variety of legal rules, processes, and procedures. On the other hand, theoretical accounts of international . . . law have often paid rather little explicit attention to the political bargaining processes that underpin the emergence of new norms of international . . . law, to the role of power and interest in inter-state negotiations, and to the range of political factors that explain whether states will or will not comply with rules. ( 1992a:12)
This chapter will incorporate the work of both IR and IL scholars to evaluate regimes as instruments of environmental policy, using ozone layer depletion and climate change resulting from global warming as specific examples.