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North American policy responses to global climate change are complex and sometimes contradictory and reach across multiple levels of government. For example, the U.S. federal government rejected the Kyoto Protocol and mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) restrictions, but California developed some of the world's most comprehensive climate change law and regulation; Canada's federal government ratified the Kyoto Protocol, but Canadian GHG emissions increased even faster than those of the United States; and Mexico's state-owned oil company addressed climate change issues in the 1990s, in stark contrast to leading U.S. and Canadian energy firms.
This book is the first to examine and compare political action for climate change across North America, at levels ranging from continental to municipal, in locations ranging from Mexico to Toronto to Portland, Maine. "Changing Climates in North American Politics" investigates new or emerging institutions, policies, and practices in North American climate governance; the roles played by public, private, and civil society actors; the diffusion of policy across different jurisdictions; and the effectiveness of multilevel North American climate change governance.
The editors find that although national climate policies vary widely, the complexities and divergences are even greater at the subnational level. Policy initiatives are developed separately in states, provinces, cities, large corporations, NAFTA bodies, universities, NGOs, and private firms, and this lack of coordination limits the effectiveness of multilevel climate change governance. In North America, unlike much of Europe, climate change governance has been largely bottom-up rather than top-down.
Henrik Selin is Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations at Boston University. Stacy D. VanDeveer is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of New Hampshire.
The strength of this book is its comprehensive coverage of policymaking at all levels of government, including sub-national entities. Changing Climates in North American Politics is an important contribution to the fields of climate change and political science because it bridges the gap between state and province environmental efforts and federal policymaking. A rare achievement! --Gary Bryner, Department of Political Science, Brigham Young University "Bringing together an impressive lineup of leading experts, Henrik Selin and Stacy VanDeveer reveal the fascinating complexity of the bottom-up dynamics of climate change governance in North America. A pioneering analysis, Changing Climates in North American Politics tracks the innovation of deepening interactions--both vertical and horizontal--across North America's many actors, institutions, and jurisdictions. It is a treasure chest of insights for anyone looking for pathways toward more effective governance of climate change." --Peter Dauvergne, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Politics, University of British Columbia and author of The Shadows of Comsumption "Timely, accessible, and vibrantly written, Changing Climates maps out the complex terrain of climate politics across North America. The authors cast a wide net, and demonstrate how individuals, agencies, and groups across levels of government and sectors of society are driving policy innovations now that will shape our response to the challenge of climate change for decades to come. This much-needed volume challenges the conventional wisdom that there has been little climate action in North America to date, and will be a must read for students, activists, policymakers: anyone, in fact, wanting to understand how climate politics actually work." --Kate O'Neill, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California at Berkeley "Changing Climates in North American Politics is a comprehensive, important, and timely study by leading experts on the multifaceted climate policies in North America, covering numerous subnational and transnational actors as diverse as cities, provinces, states, the private sector, and university networks. This book is a must-read for academics, students, and practitioners of climate policy in North America, but certainly also beyond." --Frank Biermann, --Frank Biermann, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands, co-editor of Managers of Global Change