Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Chair

Dr. Joseph Weinberg

Committee Chair Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 2

Dr. Allan McBride

Committee Member 2 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 3

Dr. Kathanne Greene

Committee Member 3 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Abstract

A country’s decision to join or withdraw from environmental cooperation has been argued by interest based theories to be influenced by the economic cost of international agreements, national interest of countries and the free-rider problem. However, this thesis argues that relative gains is a more decisive factor that influences the decision of countries in international arrangements. It hypothesizes that countries in environmental cooperation are concerned about relative gains. A content analysis of the statements of fifteen countries in international climate change cooperation are analyzed. The countries include the United States, Russian Federation, Canada, Japan, Australia, China, Brazil, South Africa, India, Saudi Arabia and five countries from the European Union, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The statements are selected from the 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties meetings. The findings show that the fifteen countries are concerned about relative gains in international climate change cooperation and that neorealist relative gains theory of international relations is applicable to environmental cooperation. This thesis therefore suggests that further research needs to be conducted in this area, particularly, future research should test the casual relationship between relative gains and the behavior of countries in environmental cooperation.

ORCID ID

orcid.org/0000-0001-5658-6010

Share

COinS