Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Vaughn Shannon, Ph.D. (Advisor); Enamul Choudury, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Liam Anderson, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Climate change, or global warming at the time, made a significant public outcry in the 1970s. Two major international treaties, the Montreal Protocol of 1987 and the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, were created from the spark of international demand for action. Why is it that after such a movement, the global community still fails to cooperate on climate change action? What makes a state comply with its international environmental treaty commitments, like the Kyoto Protocol? This thesis' research findings indicate that neither public opinion, elite framing of climate change as a threat, nor a state's capacity impact a state's compliance path. Further research shows evidence of the influence of economic development but was only evident in the case of Australia. These findings indicate that the compliance schools that dominate the literature and the Copenhagen school have less significant empirical validity. Research on state capacity, governmental structure, and through speech coding provides the emergence of one potential foundation that could shed further light on this research question. That is the area of political ideology and affiliation. Arguably, climate change is one of our most serious global issues, even with the increased intensity of erratic and intense weather patterns. Based on this research, it is believed far more by the scientific community than the average citizen and politician. It is more paramount now than ever to help understand what truly makes a state comply with global commitments on climate action. The time is ticking away.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Political Science

Year Degree Awarded