From Commitment to Compliance: Dealing with Atmospheric Risks in Canada and the United States




Dobell, Rod
Longo, Justin

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We describe the history of international efforts to design and implement multi-party agreements to address the global atmospheric problems of acid deposition, stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change, and compare U.S. and Canadian policies oriented towards these risks over the past quarter century. An adaptation of Putnam’s (1988) two-level games metaphor is presented, focusing on the complex chain of events from international agreement formulation, through domestic ratification and policy implementation to the actions of private and public actors which ultimately determine compliance and implementation success. With increasingly converging policy approaches in the two countries, efforts to address global climate change have come to focus on the search for technological solutions and the prospects for voluntary compliance. While voluntary approaches tend to rely on self interest as a motivating force, social capital may have a role in promoting altruistic behavior.


Prepared for the Conference on Environment Policy Implementation: A Comparison of Canada and the United States. Convened by the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. San Diego, California, July 9th, 1999. "Draft for Discussion – Please Do Not Cite or Quote"


responsibility, collective decisions, accountability, compliance, climate change