Why the US lacks a federal climate policy


  • DATE / TIME:
    2012•05•29    15:30 - 17:00

    Seminar: “Why the United States lacks a federal climate policy: A divided Democratic Party”

    In 2009, President Barack Obama and a majority Democratic 111th Congress came to office in a favourable position to enact federal climate legislation. But less than two years later, prospects for passing that legislation dimmed considerably. Explanations for this quick reversal include institutional rules requiring bills to receive a 60-vote supra-majority to cloture a Senate filibuster, and the Obama administration’s prioritization of healthcare over climate change.

    Both of these explanations, however, presume that the Democratic Party uniformly backed climate legislation. This presentation by Dr. Eric Zusman (senior climate policy researcher, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies) uses a logistical regression model on House Bill (H.R.) 2454 (the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009) to demonstrate that Democrats were deeply divided on the issue.

    Long-standing industrial ties and “blue dog” allegiances suggest that United States climate policy will consist of subnational clean energy and national air quality programmes for the foreseeable future. It also implies why single-party states like China will spend less money and time making a low-carbon transition.

    For more information and to register please see the seminar page on the UNU-IAS website.

    About the speaker

    Eric Zusman is a senior climate policy researcher at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) in Hayama, Japan. At IGES, his research focuses on the co-benefits of climate policies in key sectors and the political economy of low-carbon development in Asia. He recently published a co-edited book on Low Carbon Transport in Asia: Strategies for Optimizing Co-benefits (Earthscan 2012). Dr. Zusman  received his PhD in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).