Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1996

Publication Citation

3 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 295 (1996)


Professor Heller's article discusses why there has been little

progress after the Rio Earth Summit in developing the Framework

Convention on Climate Change. He argues that, beyond the scientific

uncertainties about climate change and its economic impacts,

agreement on the legal structure of a comprehensive regime has been

hampered by institutional factors. These include: the political

discounting of damage to future populations, the diverse risks of

global warming in different regions, and the distrust in many nations

with market instruments, like taxes or tradable permits, that are

favored by many industrial nations dependent on fossil fuels.

Resolving these problems will be particularly difficult in multilateral

negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations. This is due to

the conflation of environmental issues with a broader, contested

agenda of North-South issues. Unless this impasse is overcome in the

near term, key nations, essential to a successful mitigation regime,

may abandon collective solutions and invest in local adaptations to

climate change. Heller argues that Joint Implementation (JI), a type

of tradable permit system, can help to break this deadlock. However,

investment in JIprojects has been slow due to political opposition and

to confusion about the nature of an international market in

environmental services. The article concludes with an outline for the

development of a JI market that does not require a prior multilateral