The Challenges of Climate Change Policy: Explaining the Failure of Cap and Trade in the United States With a Multiple-Streams Framework

By Dustin R. Turin
2012, Vol. 4 No. 06 | pg. 1/1


With their long-term orientation, environmental problems present a unique challenge to the system of policymaking in the United States. The question of how to address climate change—and in particular, how to mitigate the phenomenon—has been particularly acute in its ability to divide policymakers. Cap and trade, a policy tool designed to place a total ‘cap’ on carbon emissions and facilitate the ‘trade’ of pollution allowances, nevertheless emerged on the debate with a strong track record and the promise of aligning the disparate goals of environmental protection and economic efficiency. Indeed, this solution narrowly missed becoming law in 2010. But, miss it did. Utilizing a multiple-streams framework focused on problem definition, policy alternatives, and political changes, this paper provides insight into exactly why cap and trade failed. It concludes that for a brief period, a window of opportunity existed to pass cap and trade, but that ultimately this window passed as cap and trade was displaced from the national agenda by healthcare, Americans increasingly questioned the science of global warming, and the Democrats lost their mandate in the 112th Congress.

Environmental problems occupy a unique sphere in public policy-making. With a decidedly long-term orientation, risks and benefits that are difficult to measure, and high-costs associated with their solutions, environmental issues breed stark disagreement among American policymakers. Climate change, the preeminent environmental problem of the past decade, highlights each of these challenges in the extreme.

In the United States, the primary target for climate change policy is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), particularly carbon dioxide, considered to be the “most significant gaseous contributor to global warming” (Blatt, 2011: 264). Most recent proposals to achieve this goal included some variation of a mechanism known as “cap and trade.” Various forms of cap and trade have been used over past decades to address a variety of common-pool resource, environmental, and public health issues, as a tool to maintain sustainable fisheries, reduce levels of lead in gasoline, and cut emissions of poisonous sulfur dioxide. Indeed, this market-oriented approach was historically bipartisan, supported by environmentalists and economists alike, and largely successful (Wagner, 2011: 104-8).

So the idea of utilizing the mechanism of cap and trade to reduce GHG emissions is neither new nor novel. By setting an overall cap on carbon emissions, allocating pollution credits, and allowing market principles to establish a price for pollution, cap and trade aligns the environmental goal of reducing GHGs with economic incentives to minimize pollution. Similar carbon markets currently operate in the European Union via the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, through burgeoning programs in Australia and New Zealand, and in state and regional partnerships in the United States that include the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the Northeast and an emerging cap and trade system in California (Schiffman & Robbins, 2011: 104; Wagner, 105).

Notwithstanding the host of successful implementations elsewhere—and the historical popularity of cap and trade as a policy tool—a national emissions trading program in the U.S. proves elusive. Although at least a half-dozen Congressional proposals emerged since 2005, including the 2009 passage of the Waxman-Markey “American Clean Energy and Security Act” by the House of Representatives, cap and trade died in the Senate in 2010. Since that time, the debate over the roots of climate change grew louder, and a changing problem definition, an array of problematic policy decisions, and unfolding political events converged to dislodge cap and trade from the national agenda.

This paper analyzes the recent failure to enact cap and trade. To do so it utilizes conceptual tools derived from literatures on problem definition and agenda setting.

Problem Definition, Agenda Setting, and Multiple Streams: A Framework

The complex nature of environmental issues and policies create high levels of uncertainty and ambiguity that challenge the assumptions of rational decision-making (Kraft 2007, p. 14). Where the rational decision-maker is assumed to define clear goals, identify alternatives, evaluate the costs and benefits of each alternative, and lastly choose the most cost-effective strategy, in the real world—particularly in the pressure-cooker of U.S. environmental politics—this process is typically less informed by objective facts and rational alternatives, and is more often undertaken as a process in which those with a stake in the outcome make persuasive appeals. Stone suggested broadly that each step in the decision-making process is used as a “strategy to control a decision” instead of a process to reach an optimum outcome (2002, p. 243). In the battle over U.S. cap and trade, this indeed appeared to be the case.

Stone emphasized the ability to identify and control the range of policy alternatives seriously considered as a key component of political power, much as Schattschneider classically stated, “the definition of alternatives is the supreme instrument of power” (1960, p. 66). The definition of a problem in a way that precludes undesirable alternatives is thus the most effective method of preventing certain outcomes—“even better than defeating it” (Stone, p. 246). Actors that can prevent the consideration of undesirable alternatives exercise significant influence over ultimate outcomes. As Schattschneider says, “some issues are organized into politics, while others are organized out” (p. 69).

To explain why certain policies are ultimately adopted, or as in the case of cap and trade legislation, why they fail, Kingdon (1995) developed a multiple-streams framework based on the earlier work of Cohen, March, and Olsen’s ‘garbage can’ model (1972). In the 'garbage can' model, the scholars observed that organizations display unclear, ambiguous, and conflicting goals; they often proceed by “trial and error” and “learning from experience,” without identifying or even comparing a range of possible alternatives; and lastly, the decision-making process is typified by the “fluid participation” of many actors, formal and informal (Cohen, March, & Olsen; Kingdon, p. 84). Kingdon further develops the garbage can model to analyze how actors interact, across and between stages, to formulate certain conditions as problems requiring action and to generate preferable alternatives.

Kingdon’s framework identifies two sets of factors—participants and processes—that affect agenda setting and alternative specification. Participant factors consider the position of actors inside or outside of government, their level of visibility, and their influence, while process factors form the trademark streams—problems, policies, and politics. Drawing on this set of participant and process factors, Kingdon theorizes that major change is more likely when policy entrepreneurs—influential actors willing to expend resources—successfully wed policies with problems, political changes, or—ideally—unite all three streams. These short periods of convergence between the streams create policy windows, or ‘windows of opportunity’ (p. 165). A policy window exists when some consensus has been reached that government should address a certain problem, a suitable alternative is available and matched with the problem, and the political climate is conducive to change. In other words, Kingdon sees these conditions as the “fertile soil” prerequisite for major policy change (p. 76).

Participants are independent of processes and classified by Kingdon according to two primary criteria: participants inside and outside of government, and visible versus hidden actors. Kingdon draws a distinction between visible participants—“Those participants who receive a lot of press and public attention” (p. 68)—and hidden participants that mostly operate out of the spotlight. Visible participants generally have a stronger affect on setting the agenda and tend to have less control over the specification of alternatives, while hidden participants (e.g., interest groups, researchers, civil servants) tend to be influential in specifying alternatives. In line with this view, Kingdon finds that the two most important groups of actors affecting agenda setting are also highly visible: the administration (consisting of the president and his appointees) and Congress.

Participants interact in the context of Kingdon’s three process streams of problems, policies, and politics. The problems stream is concerned with how and why certain problems gain the attention of those in government. Whether we define a certain set of conditions as a problem requiring government action is critical to the problems stream, and as Stone reiterates, participants compete to define problems according to their goals and values. Systematic indicators, “focusing events” such as disasters or other crises, and feedback contribute to shaping our view of problems and bringing problems to the attention of government. In the policies stream, Kingdon describes a process of alternative specification and proposal “[resembling] a process of biological natural selection” (p. 116) in which proposals must meet certain “criteria for survival” (p. 131). These criteria—technical feasibility, value acceptability, and anticipation of future constraints—determine whether an alternative diffuses within a policy community. The result is what Kingdon calls a “short list” of ideas around which a general consensus is established. Finally, the political stream accounts for a number of factors that interact to create an environment either conducive or hostile to certain types of ideas: turnover of elected officials, changes in administration, interest group pressure, and perceptions of the public mood are important among these factors. Within this stream, we find once again that the more visible participants—particularly the combination of public mood and election results, as identified by Kingdon—are capable of having “extremely powerful impacts on policy agendas” (p. 164), while the “organized forces” of interest groups and parties maintain important influence on the alternatives considered.

Applying the Framework: Why Did Cap and Trade Fail in the United States?

Cap and trade legislation came close to becoming law in 2009—but failed—and subsequently faded swiftly from the national agenda. While Kingdon’s multiple-streams framework is often used to explain policy change, it can also be used, along with the conceptual work of Schattschneider and Stone on problem definition, to provide further insight into why cap and trade failed. The following discussion analyzes cap and trade policy using Kingdon’s process factors of problems, policies, and politics as a framework.

Problem Definition

Environmental issues are classic “commons problems” in which economic individual interests are not aligned with the common public interest, with rational individual choices cumulatively generating negative consequences for the community. Exemplifying this dilemma, survey data show that the American public typically view economic growth and environmental protection as contradictory goals.1 Nevertheless, for a brief moment in 2008-2009, it appeared as if the debate on climate change was shifting. Since 2004, the number of Americans worried about global warming rose consistently from 51% to 66% in 2008,2 and politicians viewed climate change as a ‘hot-button’ issue. During the 2008 presidential campaign, leading candidates from both parties—John McCain (R) and Barack Obama (D)—identified climate change as a pressing problem.3 In the campaign, Obama sought to redefine climate change and other environmental problems as “not just a challenge” so much as an “opportunity” to create millions of jobs, attempting to tie together the typically disparate goals of environmental protection and economic growth (Kline 2011, p. 179). At the same time, the ability to tie together these two goals was seen as the major strength of cap and trade, and consensus around cap and trade as a policy tool solidified.4 Shortly after taking office, Obama proposed in his FY2010 Presidential Budget a nationwide cap and trade system “to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”5

However, the public mood shifted quickly in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Whereas a steady increase in public awareness about global warming was apparent prior to the crisis, the number of Americans worried about global warming began to fall in 2009, and by 2011 returned to the lowest levels since a Gallup poll began keeping track in 1989.6 Recent polling data show that the number of Americans who believe the “protection of the environment should be given priority” fell from nearly 70% in 2000 to only 36% in 2011, while during the same period the number of Americans favoring economic growth more than doubled from 23% to 54%.7 In 2009, for the first time since 1984 (when data is first available), Americans prioritized economic growth over environmental protection.8

Falling public support for environmental issues proceeded in conjunction with a growing ideological divide over whether the conditions associated with climate change—increased levels of GHGs in the atmosphere, melting ice caps, rising sea levels, and warmer global temperatures—should in fact be classified as a “problem for which government action is an appropriate remedy” (Kingdon, p. 17). In particular, establishing a consensus that human beings in fact cause global warming is an important step toward necessitating government response as an “appropriate remedy” to global warming. Otherwise, efforts to prevent global warming appear akin to trying to change the tides, stopper volcanoes, or prevent other naturally occurring phenomena.

Although an overwhelming majority of scientists around the world believe global warming is caused by humans and that it poses a significant and increasing threat to society (Blatt 2011, p. 273), most Americans do not share this belief. In fact, only 34% of Americans believe global warming is caused by humans—among the lowest percentage of any country in the world.9 Moreover, the divide over climate change became starkly politicized, determined more by political belief than scientific findings. Seven out of ten Democrats say they worry about climate change, compared to only three out of ten Republicans.10 In the 112th U.S. Congress, 74% of Republicans in the Senate publicly questioned the science of global warming; Gropp (2011) remarks: “With each passing year it appears that there are fewer Republican members of Congress willing to embrace or act upon scientific knowledge, particularly when it relates to issues such as climate change.”

Clearly, there is a struggle to adequately define global warming as a problem requiring government response. As William Ruckelshaus, a former EPA administrator, pointed out, “the difficulty of converting scientific findings into political action is a function of the uncertainty of the science and the pain generated by the action” (Kraft 2007, p. 19). Any human solution to global warming, such as cap and trade legislation to reduce GHG emissions, entails high economic costs with few tangible short-term benefits. Meanwhile, political activists in the U.S. have succeeded in introducing a high-degree of uncertainty into the climate change debate, attempting to reorient the perception of global warming as a problem caused by humans toward a definition in which global warming is simply a natural phenomenon. Politicized arguments that question the validity of climate science appear to hold a stronger sway.

Policy Development and Alternatives

The concept of cap and trade originated as an academic concept in the 1960s when Ronald H. Coase published “The Problem of Social Cost” in the Journal of Law and Economics. This concept was further developed in the 1970s for application to emissions trading.11 Beginning in the 1990s, the United States utilized cap and trade policy to significantly reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, even beyond the requirements mandated by law and at a lower-than-expected cost (Bremer & Farley 2011, p. 120). Since that time, cap and trade became the “policy of choice” for addressing GHG emissions in the United States.12 By 2009, environmental groups and a surprising portion of the business community embraced the cap and trade concept, while politicians on both sides of the aisle viewed the policy as more palatable than alternatives such as a ‘carbon tax.’ As an article in the Times points out, cap and trade was “almost perfectly designed for the buying and selling of political support through the granting of valuable emissions permits.”13 In Congress, various policy proposals to implement a carbon market originated based on the principles of cap and trade.

Beginning in 2006, climate bills started to be introduced in Congress, including the Udall-Petri “Keep America Competitive Global Warming Policy Act” (H.R.5049) and the Waxman “Safe Climate Act” (H.R. 5642) in the House of Representatives. Both bills proposed a mandatory emissions cap on large emitters with slightly different approaches for allocating tradable pollution allowances; the Waxman bill auctioned off some portion of allowances with the remainder freely allocated, while the Udall-Petri bill proposed a 20% free allocation, a 20% allocation to states, and a 60% allocation to the federal government (Paltsev et al. 2007, p. 11). The two House bills broke ground for the introduction of additional bills in the Senate in 2007, including an early Lieberman-McCain proposal (S.280), a bipartisan Kerry-Snowe proposal (S.485), and a later Lieberman-Warner proposal (S.2191). In 2008, the Lieberman-Warner proposal passed Committee, but was filibustered by Republicans in the Senate.14 With the changing political tides of the 2008 elections, the Democrats gained a majority in both houses and in June 2009 the Waxman-Markey “American Clean Energy and Security Act” (H.R.2454) passed the House. The Waxman-Markey bill was the most ambitious climate bill to date; it included provisions requiring electric utilities to provide 20% of electricity via renewable sources by 2020, and mandated the creation of a nationwide cap and trade system for reducing GHG emissions by 83% of 2005 levels by 2050.15 At the same time, the Waxman-Markey bill morphed from an approach favoring an auctioned allowance toward a bill in which the majority of initial pollution allowances were freely allocated.

With the passage of cap and trade in the House, responsibility for continuing the momentum fell on the Senate, where a number of trends in the policy stream emerged between 2006 and 2010. First, several policy entrepreneurs willing to devote significant resources toward a cap and trade policy are identifiable; both Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and John Kerry (D-MA) introduced multiple climate change bills. Ryan Lizza, reporting at great length in The New Yorker, describes Lieberman as a long-time cap and trade advocate, having pushed for climate change legislation since the 1980s.16 Meanwhile, Kerry co-sponsored legislation (S.1733) introduced as a companion to the Waxman-Markey bill shortly after its passage in the House. The bill made it out of Committee but was abandoned as Kerry, working with Lieberman and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), sought to create a bill acceptable to all sides.17 Danielle Rosengarten, Lieberman’s aide, was a significant behind-the-scenes player largely responsible for cobbling together the Lieberman-Kerry-Graham (KGL) effort. Graham in particular was an essential player in the effort to bring Republican support to the effort. In an April 2010 meeting with White House aides, the group of senators, accompanied by Rosengarten, expressed relative certainty that they would have the required sixty votes to pass their bill in the Senate.18 In fact, the legislation never made it to a vote.

The second major trend to emerge in the policy stream was a consensus, conveyed by the progress of the Lieberman-Kerry-Graham effort, for a free initial allocation of carbon allowances. Indeed, the free allocation mechanism allowed proponents of both the Waxman-Markey bill in the House and the tripartisan effort in the senate to attract support from industry. (This trend conforms to Cook’s suggestion, drawing on Lowi [1964; 1972] and Wilson [1980], that free allocation in cap and trade legislation leads to interest-group politics, in which costs [emissions cap] and benefits [emissions allocations] are both concentrated [Cook 2010, p. 480].) Lizza notes that Lieberman, Kerry, and Graham had the support of both the major environmental groups and the largest polluters,19 an achievement that would have been significantly more difficult with an auctioned allowance, whereby costs are concentrated on polluters but benefits are distributed throughout society, creating strong negative interest-group pressure.

Nevertheless, President Obama notably called for a 100% auctioned allowance in his cap and trade proposal, a route with high support from environmental groups and little support from industry. The coalition of support in the Senate, seeking to gain the support of industry and a handful of Republican senators and ‘blue-dog’ Democrats, accepted numerous concessions while simultaneously offering significant incentives to key industries: expanded loan guarantees to the nuclear power industry, increased offshore drilling, and the promise of holding back lurking EPA regulations.20 Inconsistency between the Senate coalition and the White House over specific elements of cap and trade had significant political ramifications. As the Lieberman-Kerry-Graham effort progressed, the political liabilities of the plan (discussed below) soon outweighed the benefits for Graham, and the White House saw other opportunities as more appealing.

Politics and the Environment

In the political stream, ‘turnover’ of personnel has an important influence on agenda setting (Kingdon, p. 153). Furthermore, visible political leaders in the highest positions of authority—namely the president, his administration, and members of Congress—are posited to be centrally important actors in setting the national agenda. During most of the Bush years, the Republican Party—almost unanimously opposed to cap and trade—dominated the formal mechanisms of national government. Beginning in 2007, that balance began to shift as Democrats gained a slim majority in the House (233D – 202R) and an even split in the Senate (49D – 49R – 1I [Lieberman]). By 2009, with the election of Barack Obama as President, turnover in the national government gave the Democrats—historically sympathetic to environmental issues—a strong majority in the House (257D – 178R), dominance in the Senate (57D – 41R – 2I), and an apparent presidential mandate.21

Turnover in elected officials gave climate change policy an opportunity to rise on the national agenda. In the House, the Waxman-Markey proposal was already in the works, and both Lieberman and Kerry had previously tried and failed to spur climate legislation. Assuming the presidency, Obama set priorities for two agenda items: health care, which was a major feature of his campaign, and the environment.22 In February 2009, Obama asked Congress to “send [him] legislation that places a market-based cap on pollution.”23 Lizza quotes an official for the Obama administration indicating plans to pursue both health care and the environment simultaneously, “and see which one looks more promising.”24 Election turnover and Obama as the most prominent national agenda setter were thus essential in putting climate change—cap and trade, in particular—on the national agenda.

After the Waxman-Markey legislation passed in the House, the political dynamics of the Lieberman-Kerry-Graham relationship became essential to the development of a plan that could pass in the Senate. Even though the Democrats held a majority in the Senate, they did not have a ‘filibuster-proof’ majority (requiring sixty seats, to the Democrats fifty-seven). Lizza offers an exhaustive discussion of each man’s political calculations: Lieberman, an Independent, was a long-time supporter of cap and trade policy, had tried and failed to bring forward a plan in the past, and was morally committed to seeing a plan implemented. Kerry is described as a political opportunist, motivated in the past by environmental issues but particularly concerned with “[proving] that he could be in a major, really historic piece of legislation.” Graham, meanwhile, as the lone Republican, faced the greatest political headwinds for joining the effort: angry constituents, attacks from far-right movements such as the Tea Party, and the risk of “angering” the leader of the Republican party in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, who called on his party to block all aspects of Obama’s agenda. Conversely, Graham was brought in as a “dealmaker” who saw an “opportunity to boost nuclear industry and expand oil drilling.” He was the middleman for industry lobbyists and a “central person in the process.”25 Thus, an image emerges in which Lieberman and Kerry organize political support for their proposal, while Graham is essential in gaining the support of industry by dolling out incentives.

While Lieberman, Kerry, and Graham organized support for a cap and trade agreement in the Senate, there was a lack of coordination with the White House that ultimately undermined their proposal. As previously mentioned, the KGL effort hinged on three big industry ‘carrots’: expanded loan guarantees for nuclear power, increased offshore drilling, and promises that the EPA would not use a top-down approach to regulate emissions. The White House, nevertheless, started to give these carrots away. In late-January, Obama announced a plan to triple federal loan guarantees for nuclear power;26 in March, the Administration announced a plan to open a large stretch of the East Coast to oil and natural gas exploration for the first time;27 meanwhile, there was movement from both sides of the aisle, independent of the coalition effort, to stop the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.28

As the available carrots for attracting support to their bill disappeared, other changes occurred in the political atmosphere. As highlighted in the problems stream, support for environmental protection over economic development was fading quickly in the public, as the national mood became increasingly mired in financial worries from the stalled economy. Conservative groups and media outlets, characterized by an ideological opposition to global warming, attacked Graham for supporting “cap and tax” and referred to climate science as “climate-gate.”29 By the end of April 2010, as discussions for the KGL proposal reached a pinnacle, the oil spill at the offshore BP oil platform became the largest in history. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, decided the Senate would take up immigration in advance of a climate bill, spurring Graham to leave the coalition30—and dashing hope of significant Republican support—while Lieberman and Kerry “were left sponsoring a bill with a sweeping expansion of offshore drilling at a moment when newspapers were filled with photographs of birds soaking in oil.”31

Obama, the nation’s most important agenda setter, set two priorities on taking office: health care and the environment. Healthcare succeeded, at great political expense, in the midst of criticism and growing concern for the economy.32 In the wake of the healthcare battle, climate change legislation appeared volatile and of little political appeal. Schattschneider argues that “conflicts compete with each other” (p. 63), and “every major conflict overwhelms, subordinates, and blots out a multitude of lesser ones” (p. 65); Kingdon agrees there is only limited space on a national agenda, while policy entrepreneurs—“even presidents”—have finite political resources that cannot be spent on “everything at once” (p. 184). Obama turned his attention to other priorities, dropping climate change from the national rhetoric and making no mention of the environment in his 2011 State of the Union address, although he specifically addressed climate change as a national priority in the preceding year.33 In Congress, Reid called off efforts for a comprehensive climate bill.34 At the same time, turnover in the 2010 Congressional elections once again changed the structure of formal political power in Washington, with conservative Tea Party Republicans sweeping the House and Democrats losing six seats in the Senate.35

Conclusion: On Policy Windows and Missed Opportunities

As a policy tool, cap and trade should appear particularly palatable for addressing global warming in the United States. It proved effective in other similar issues, such as cleaning our air of sulfur dioxide, and has been tested in other countries and through regional initiatives. Implemented properly, it is likely that cap and trade would please environmentalists while incurring a relatively small impact on industry, reducing the federal budget deficit, and creating new employment opportunities.36 Nevertheless, cap and trade is not currently within sight of the national agenda.

This discussion showed how problems, policies, and politics interacted, ultimately failing to provide a cap and trade bill. In particular, it is apparent that for a brief period, a policy window—an opportunity for major legislative change—appeared to be open. That period occurred immediately in the wake of Obama’s election, toward the beginning of 2009. At that point, the American public still perceived global warming to be relatively important, an appropriate policy alternative—as evidenced by the successful Waxman-Markey legislation—was available, and the major Democratic victories accompanying the election of Barack Obama created a political environment conducive to change.

But, as Kingdon asserts, “once the window opens, it does not stay open long” (p. 169). Public support for the environment faded quickly as the financial crisis dragged on, and the American public—thanks to the efforts of political and industry activists—began to seriously question the science of global warming. While the House passed a climate bill, the Senate failed to take the issue up with the same speed and rigor, instead attempting to create an entirely new bill and lacking a policy entrepreneur who could coordinate efforts in the Senate with the Presidential agenda. The Senate alternative became bogged down with incentives and giveaways, and when the BP oil accident ballooned into a disaster—instead of increasing calls for environmental regulation, which would seem the intuitive response—the cap and trade bill was appeared further tarnished. Meanwhile, Obama and the Democrats exhausted their political resources on passing a controversial healthcare bill, so that at the last minute—while a deal was still within sight—cap and trade appeared too politically expensive, subordinated by other efforts. The nail in the coffin of cap and trade—at least for the time being—came only shortly thereafter as Democrats lost their overwhelming mandate in the 112th Congress.


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Paltsev, S., Reilly, J.M., Jacoby, H.D., Gurgel, A.C., Metcalf, G.E., Sokolov, A.P., Holak, J.F. (2007). “Assessment of U.S. Cap-and-Trade Proposals.” MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

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Schiffman, H.W. & Robbins, P. (2011). “Carbon Markets.” Green Issues and Debates. Los Angeles: Sage.

Stone, D. (2002). Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making (Revised Edition). New York: Norton.

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1.) --. (2011). “Americans increasingly prioritize economy over environment.” Gallup. Retrieved from:

2.) --. (2011). “Three key findings on American’s views of the environment.” Gallup. Retrieved from:

3.) Rosenthal, E. (2011). “Whatever happened to global warming.” The New York Times. Retrieved from:

4.) Broder, J.M. (2009). “From a theory to a consensus on emissions.” The New York Times. Retrieved from:

5.) --. (2009). “FY2010 Presidential Budget.” United States Office of Management and Budget. Retrieved from:

6.) --. (2011). “Three key findings on American’s views of the environment.” Gallup. Retrieved from:

7.) --. (2011). “Americans increasingly prioritize economy over environment.” Gallup. Retrieved from:

8.) Ibid.

9.) --. (2011). “Worldwide, blame for climate change falls on humans.” Gallup. Retrieved from:

10.) --. (2011). “Three key findings on American’s views of the environment.” Gallup. Retrieved from:

11.) Broder, J.M. (2009). “From a theory to a consensus on emissions.” The New York Times. Retrieved from:

12.) Ibid.

13.) Ibid.

14.) Tutwiler, P. (2010). “Climate change legislation: where does it stand?” GovTrack. Retrieved from:

15.) --. (2009). “H.R.2454: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 – Congressional Research Service Summary.” GovTrack. Retreived from:

16.) Lizza, R. (2010). “As the world burns: how the Senate and the White House missed their best chance to deal with climate change.” The New Yorker. Retrieved from:¤tPage=all

17.) Tutwiler, 2010.

18.) Lizza, 2010: 2.

19.) Ibid.

20.) Ibid, 7.

21.) “Party divisions of the House of Representatives (1789 – Present).” U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved from:; “Party divisions in the Senate (1789 – Present).” U.S. Senate. Retrieved from:

22.) Schroeder, R. (2009). “Obama’s ambitious agenda faces test on day one.” MarketWatch. Retrieved from:

23.) Obama, B. (2009). Address by the President to the Joint Session of Congress. Retrieved from:

24.) Lizza, 2010: 3.

25.) Ibid.

26.) Wald, L.W. (2010). “Obama acts to easy way to construct new reactors.” The New York Times. Retrieved from:

27.) Broder, J.M. (2010). “Obama to open offshore areas to oil drilling for first time.” The New York Times. Retrieved from:

28.) Bravender, R. (2010). “Two key house Dems move to block EPA regulatory authority.” The New York Times. Retrieved from:

29.) --. (2010). “New revelations on climate-gate” [Transcript from Hannity]. Fox News. Retrieved from:,2933,591415,00.html

30.) Broder, J.M. (2010). “Graham pulls support for major senate climate bill.” The New York Times. Retrieved from:

31.) Lizza, 2010: 19-20.

32.) -- . (2011). “Health Care Reform.” The New York Times. Retrieved from:

33.) Obama, B. (2011). 2011 State of the Union Address. Retrieved from:; Obama, B. (2010). 2010 State of the Union Address. Retrieved from:

34.) Hulse, C. & Herszenhorn, D.M. (2010). “Democrats call off climate bill effort.” The New York Times. Retrieved from:

35.) “Party divisions of the House of Representatives (1789 – Present).” U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved from:; “Party divisions in the Senate (1789 – Present).” U.S. Senate. Retrieved from:

36.) Tutwiler, 2010.

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Latest in Political Science

2022, Vol. 14 No. 09
This interdisciplinary paper investigates the shortfalls and obstacles to success currently facing the climate movement, examining issues represented by the disconnect between policy and electoral politics, the hypocrisy and blatant indifference... Read Article »
2022, Vol. 14 No. 06
Two of the most prevalent protest movements in recent history were the Black Lives Matter and the #StopTheSteal movements. While there are many differences between the two, one of the most prevalent is their use of violence. Whereas the BLM movement... Read Article »
2022, Vol. 14 No. 05
Strong linkages between autocrats and the military are often seen as a necessary condition for authoritarian regime survival in the face of uprising. The Arab Spring of 2011 supports this contention: the armed forces in Libya and Syria suppressed... Read Article »
2022, Vol. 14 No. 04
During the summer of 2020, two fatal shootings occurred following Black Lives Matter protests. The first event involved Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the second Michael Reinoehl in Portland, Oregon. Two shootings, each committed by... Read Article »
2022, Vol. 14 No. 02
In popular international relations (IR) theory, knowledge production is often dismissed as an objective process between the researcher and the empirical world. This article rejects this notion and contends that the process of knowledge production... Read Article »
2022, Vol. 14 No. 01
This article explores the political relationship between nation-building, ethnicity, and democracy in the context of Ethiopia. It traces Ethiopia's poltical history, explores the consequential role ethnicity has played in the formation of the modern... Read Article »
2022, Vol. 14 No. 01
The study examines the degree to which Xi Jinping has brought about a strategic shift to the Chinese outward investment pattern and how this may present significant political leverage and military advantages for China in the Indian Ocean Region (... Read Article »

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