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Disentangling Climate Change Governance: A Legal Perspective



Climate change is by definition a global problem that is subject to a variety of regulatory initiatives. Besides the comprehensive framework established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, as strengthened by the recent Durban negotiations, a wide array of regulatory measures have been set up by public and private actors, either alone or via partnerships. This article aims to provide a brief overview and legal assessment of transnational regulatory networks for climate change, including both established regulators and rules. Indeed, the ‘regulatory proliferation’ in the field pushes to disentangle not only the reciprocal relationship between rules directly targeting climate change, but also the relationship between them and ‘external’ rules only indirectly relating to climate change. Mapping the existing climate change regulatory framework is essential for spotting potential loopholes and inconsistencies, correctly interpreting existing norms and eventually undertaking further regulatory action. Overall, the article concludes that within the context of a generally ‘complex’ regulatory regime, a gap currently exists between primary rules which gather an array of intertwined public–private regulatory initiatives and enforced secondary rules which encompass mainly obligations established by public actors only indirectly targeting climate change.