A Green Giant? Inconsistency and American Environmental Diplomacy

  • Joshua W. Busby
Part of the Asia Today book series (ASIAT)


The United States is home to the world’s most vibrant and well-resourced environmental advocacy sector, but the country has been an inconsistent leader in global environmental diplomacy. Beginning in the 1970s, the US developed a reputation for global environmental leadership as it sought to internationalize its ambitious domestic environmental goals. For issues such as ozone depletion and whaling, the United States coordinated and cajoled others to take on commitments to support environmental aims. For other problems, foremost among them climate change, the United States has influenced global negotiations but has generally been regarded as a laggard from an environmental perspective. Some analysts interpret this as part of a larger secular trend away from global environmental leadership by the United States that began in the early 1990s. This chapter seeks to answer two main questions: (1) What explains the variation in US leadership on environmental issues? (2) Is the US increasingly moving away from leadership in global environmental diplomacy?


Foreign Policy Kyoto Protocol Bluefin Tuna Global Environment Facility Environmental Goal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© G. John Ikenberry, Wang Jisi, and Zhu Feng 2015

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  • Joshua W. Busby

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