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The Opposite of Learning: Ossification in the Climate Change Regime


  • Joanna Depledge


Promoting learning among participants is a key function commonly attributed to international regimes. Such learning, however, cannot always be guaranteed, and regimes may sometimes descend into ossification. In contrast to a learning regime, an ossifying regime is one that is unable to process new information, facilitate the free-flow of new ideas, or foster understanding and trust among negotiators. Evidence from the recent history of the climate change regime suggests it is suffering from ossification. Dragging forces contributing to this include the institutionalization of the "north/south divide," complexity of the process, fragile conditions for effective communication, onerous decision-making rules, activities of obstructionists, absence of the US, and weak implementation. Pockets of learning on climate change are, however, still active, especially outside the regime itself. To reinvigorate the negotiations, meaningful progress is needed on domestic and regional implementation, including ensuring the success of the Protocol's market mechanisms. Copyright (c) 2006 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Joanna Depledge, 2006. "The Opposite of Learning: Ossification in the Climate Change Regime," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-22, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:glenvp:v:6:y:2006:i:1:p:1-22

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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan Pickering & Frank Jotzo & Peter J. Wood, 2015. "Splitting the Difference: Can Limited Coordination Achieve a Fair Distribution of the Global Climate Financing Effort?," CCEP Working Papers 1504, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    2. Jean Christophe Graz & Michel Damian & Mehdi Abbas, 2007. "Towards an evolutionary environmental regulation of capitalism : sustainable development 20 years after," Post-Print halshs-00369962, HAL.
    3. Taedong Lee & Susan Meene, 2012. "Who teaches and who learns? Policy learning through the C40 cities climate network," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 45(3), pages 199-220, September.
    4. repec:eee:enepol:v:113:y:2018:i:c:p:386-400 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Avidan Kent, 2014. "Implementing the principle of policy integration: institutional interplay and the role of international organizations," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 203-224, September.
    6. de Sépibus, Joëlle, 2012. "The UNFCCC at a Crossroads: Can Increased Involvement of Business and Industry Help Rescue the Multilateral Climate Regime?," Papers 429, World Trade Institute.
    7. Benjamin Bagozzi, 2015. "The multifaceted nature of global climate change negotiations," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 439-464, December.
    8. Johannes Urpelainen, 2013. "Can strategic technology development improve climate cooperation? A game-theoretic analysis," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 18(6), pages 785-800, August.

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