Global environmental change and international law : prospects for progress in the legal order
This thesis argues that international regimes exist within the international legal order. The use of regime theory to explain international regulation of an issue-area, although first introduced as a legal concept, has been primarily explored in the discipline of international relations. That discipline has for the most part, however, under-emphasised international law. In an effort to promote interdisciplinary research on the nature of the international legal order, this thesis explores the concept of international regimes within the international legal order, using examples of global environmental change. A discussion of the schools of thought within international law is undertaken, with the policy-oriented approach to be utilised in this thesis. The policy-oriented school, which views international law as a process, can incorporate the process of regime formation and development within its framework. An examination of the general international law applicable to climate change and ozone layer depletion is then undertaken, to help explain the need for regime formation in those areas. A discussion of the role of regimes within international law follows, including their formation, maintenance, source of legal obligation, and compliance mechanisms. The strength of a regime's normative or shared expectations, or norms and rules, depends on the shaping of cognitive expectations, or knowledge. These cognitive expectations are in turn dependent on the degree to which uncertainty regarding issues critical to the particular regime has been overcome. An examination of the critical issues particular to climate change and ozone layer depletion is made, as well as how regimes can overcome uncertainty. This is followed by a discussion of regime catalysts. Analyses of the ozone layer depletion and climate change regimes are then made, and an argument for their inclusion as law within the policy-oriented school is made. The thesis concludes that regimes are present within the international legal order and play a vital role in maintaining that order. Thus, this thesis aims to make an original contribution to the discipline of international law through the study of regimes, which signal the presence of the international legal order where it has previously been ignored or deemed nonexistent.