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Congress and the Politics of Climate Change

  • Gary Bryner
Chapter

Abstract

The policy of United States government toward climate change poses a puzzling paradox. U.S.-funded research has played a major role in identifying the threat of climate change and in developing climate models, and American scientists have been among the leading voices in drawing attention to the challenges it poses to the global community. Vice President Al Gore, who enjoyed unprecedented power and influence for a vice president in the Clinton administration, focused on climate change in his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance, calling it the most important environmental problem we face. But U.S. policy commitments to addressing the threat of climate change have been quite weak. The United States will fall far short of its goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the year 2000 to 1990 levels, as agreed to in the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), and it led the opposition, until recently, to binding commitments for reducing emissions. Even though the Clinton administration agreed to a seven percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 in the Kyoto Protocol, there has been great opposition to binding emission reductions in Congress.

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Notes

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© Paul G. Harris 2000

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  • Gary Bryner

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