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The Evolution of Global Climate Change Institutions

A Discussion With:

Alexander Thompson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor pf Political Science
Ohio State University

Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Clark Hall, Room 309
4:30 – 6:00 p.m.
This forum is free and open to the public.

A variety of political and legal institutions have been established over time to manage the issue of climate change at the global level, mostly centered on the UN. These institutions have varied in terms of the nature and depth of obligations they impose on states. The shallow and nonbinding Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992) was followed by the more legalized Kyoto Protocol, which in turn is being replaced by a more decentralized and flexible approach. Professor Thompson will describe these changes and offer an explanation for the design and evolution of climate institutions from the perspective of political and environmental effectiveness. He will also offer policy recommendations based on current problems in the regime and the political realities exposed by ongoing negotiations.

This program is made possible by the generosity of Ms. Eloise Briskin and sponsored by the Center for Policy Studies at Case Western Reserve University.

About Our Guest

Alexander Thompson’s research focuses on international relations, especially in the area of international institutions and cooperation. His book, Channels of Power: The UN Security Council and U.S. Statecraft in Iraq (Cornell University Press, 2009), asks why powerful states often conduct coercive foreign policies through international organizations. Professor Thompson provides an information-based explanation and assesses arguments looking at U.S. policy toward Iraq from 1990 to the current intervention and its aftermath. Channels of Power won the International Studies Association’s Chadwick F. Alger Prize for the best book on international organization and multilateralism and the Best Book Award from ISA-Midwest.

Much of Alexander Thompson’s research addresses issues of institutional delegation and design at the international level, with recent and ongoing projects on the design of the global climate regime, the politics of investment treaty ratification, the domestic politics of legalization in the WTO, the principal-agent dynamics of multilateral weapons inspections, determinants of how international organizations perform, and the enforcement of international law. Professor Thompson also writes and speaks on the question of unilateralism versus multilateralism in U.S. foreign policy.