International Climate Change Law and State Compliance: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

International Climate Change Law and State Compliance

1st Edition

By Alexander Zahar


204 pages

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A solution to the problem of climate change requires close international cooperation and difficult reforms involving all states. Law has a clear role to play in that solution. What is not so clear is the role that law has played to date as a constraining factor on state conduct.

International Climate Change Law and State Compliance is an unprecedented treatment of the nature of climate change law and the compliance of states with that law. The book argues that the international climate change regime, in the twenty or so years it has been in existence, has developed certain normative rules of law, binding on states. State conduct under these rules is characterized by generally high compliance in areas where equity is not a major concern. There is, by contrast, low compliance in matters requiring a burden-sharing agreement among states to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to a ‘safe’ level. The book argues that the substantive climate law presently in place must be further developed, through normative rules that bind states individually to top-down mitigation commitments. While a solution to the problem of climate change must take this form, the law’s development in this direction is likely to be hesitant and slow.

The book is aimed at scholars and graduate students in environmental law, international law, and international relations.


"Among the burgeoning legal literature on climate change issues, this book stands out—not only for its sober analysis of state compliance with the proclaimed basic multilateral commitments (perceived as ‘mitigation’ and ‘accountability’ rules), but especially for its critical long-term vision of an emergent ‘individualized’ international law of the atmosphere." –Peter H. Sand, University of Munich, Germany

"Much has been written about existing and proposed international climate agreements, but much less about whether what we have is actually working. Alexander Zahar’s book fills an important gap. It probes the inconsistent compliance with the obligations under the Framework Convention on Climate Change and related agreements, it explores the usually feeble consequences of noncompliance, and it provides the lessons we should learn from this experience. This work will be invaluable to those working with the existing laws and those trying to craft better ones."Michael B. Gerrard, Columbia University, USA

"Compliance is a critical and often neglected part of the global climate regime. This book’s most unique contribution is that it looks beyond individual emission reduction commitments and reporting obligations to consider a more complete range of individual and collective commitments under the existing climate regime to better understand the compliance challenge. This alone makes it essential reading for anyone interested in compliance with international environmental law." –Meinhard Doelle, Dalhousie University, Canada

"Compliance is the elephant in the room in international climate law. This book offers a careful and timely analysis of why and when states choose (or not) to comply with international climate rules."Christina Voigt, University of Oslo, Norway

"A must for understanding the normative content of climate law. While providing a thorough analysis of procedural and substantive obligations imposed on states under the climate change legal regime, it sheds a new light on the interplay between individual and collective state compliance obligations." –Massimiliano Montini, University of Siena, Italy

Table of Contents

1. Law, Compliance and the Climate Change Regime 2. State Compliance with Rules on National Reporting and Assessment 3. Facilitation and Enforcement of Rules Through the Kyoto Protocol's Compliance Committee 4. State Compliance with Emission-Limitation Obligations 5. Financial Support for Mitigation Actions in Developing Countries 6. Climate Law and 'Optional' Mitigation Mechanisms 7. Compliance Lessons from the Climate Change Regime

About the Author

Alexander Zahar is Senior Lecturer at Macquarie Law School, Macquarie University, Australia, where he teaches climate change and environmental law. His research interests include the impact of international climate finance in Southeast Asia.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Climate Change Research

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Economic Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Environmental Economics
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy


Why not download our Routledge FreeBook  Climate Change Research? This resource contains a chapter from International Climate Change Law and State Compliance, along with a selection of excerpts from other titles in the Routledge Advances in Climate Change Research Series.

Click here for more information, and to access this FreeBook.