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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Global Climate Policy: Will Bonn Save Kyoto?

September 20, 2001 / 6.30 P.M.

Detlef F. Sprinz, PIK- Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

The global climate regime has attracted renewed interest in July 2001 due to the partially unexpected Bonn Agreements to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Nevertheless, it still remains unclear whether the global climate regime will become a successful global regime without open or tacit support by the United States of America. This lecture provides a historical overview of the global climate regime since the 1990s and an overview of key issues which the climate regime encounters.

The global climate regime is not the first global environmental regime, but it has emerged as the primary treaty system which combines environmental protection with developmental issues. Many of the rules, incl. monetary transfers or allocation rules for pollution permits, are likely to set precedents for other global environmental regimes. Esp. the design of a functioning market for carbon offsets, incl. the Kyoto Mechanisms and crediting of sinks, the long-term allocation of permits across developed and developing countries, and the capacity to implement such agreements domestically will be core issues which have not yet been fully resolved. In addition, the single most polluting country, the United States, has decided to stay aside from the global negotiations on climate change, thus necessitating other countries to take the lead – and testing the proposition whether a lead country is needed to promote global rules and assure their success. Given these challenges, it remains open whether Bonn will save Kyoto.

Short CV: Detlef Sprinz

Detlef F. Sprinz is Senior Fellow at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Department of Global Change ∓ Social Systems, Potsdam, Germany. He is member of the European Academy, Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, and its study group on climate change, and has been Co-Founder and Partner of the Ecologic – Institute for International and European Environmental Policy in Berlin, Germany. At the University of Potsdam he is Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. After completing his M.A. in Economics at the University of the Saarland, Saarbrücken, Germany, in 1986, Mr. Sprinz received his Ph.D. in Political Science from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1992. The title of his dissertation was “Why Countries Support International Environmental Agreements: The Regulation of Acid Rain in Europe.” Mr. Sprinz has written various articles on the topic of international environmental policy (International Organization, Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Political Science Review, Climatic Change, Journal of Environment & Development, International Studies Notes). He has followed the international negotiations on “Climate Change” ever since the “Framework Convention on Climate Change” has been adopted in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. More detailed information can be found at