My research question is “what explains variation in implementation of global climate initiatives?” In a small-n neopositivist analysis of my research topic, my dependent variable would be the success or failure of the Kyoto Protocol. I have chosen the Kyoto Protocol over other global climate initiatives as it sets binding greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets, rather than other UN climate initiatives such as the Paris Agreement which also aims to reduce emissions, but is not legally binding.
One source I will consult to decide whether the Kyoto Protocol succeeded or failed in certain countries is the World Development Indicators dataset from the World Bank. From this dataset, I would look at the percentage change in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990. The reason for the year 1990 is that it is around that time that climate change became a significant issue on the international level, specifically within the United Nations. The way I will operationalize my variable in accordance with this data source to decide whether or not the Kyoto Protocol was a success in a certain country is if they met their set emissions targets. For example, Croatia’s 2008 goal was a five percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2012, and according to the World Development Indicators dataset, they reduced their emissions by 7.4%. Because of this, I would consider that Kyoto Protocol to be a success in Croatia. This measure of success gauges more than just efficacy of the initiative itself, but also shows how much, if any, a country is implementing global climate policy.
Another mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol is the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) that allows developed countries to develop emission-reduction projects in developing countries. Through an analysis of these projects, I can see how developed countries are making efforts not just domestically, but also collective international efforts to combat climate change, thus playing a role into whether implementation of the Kyoto Protocol is a success or failure. I also plan to incorporate discourse analysis of statements submitted by member countries of the UN during UNFCC meetings in my research, to assess support or opposition to climate policy. Through usage of both quantitative and qualitative sources, I hope to develop a more complex and multi-faceted dependent variable suitable for small-n neopositivist research.
“Climate Change,” United Nations January 11, 2016, <https://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/climate-change/> (Accessed: 26 October 2019).
“World Development Indicators DataBank,” <https://databank.worldbank.org/reports.aspx?source=world-development-indicators> (Accessed: 26 October 2019).
 “Kyoto Protocol – Targets for the First Commitment Period | UNFCCC,” <https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-kyoto-protocol/what-is-the-kyoto-protocol/kyoto-protocol-targets-for-the-first-commitment-period.> (Accessed: 27 October 2019). See Also: “World Development Indicators Databank.”
 “The Clean Development Mechanism | UNFCCC,” <https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-kyoto-protocol/mechanisms-under-the-kyoto-protocol/the-clean-development-mechanism> (Accessed: 27 October 2019).