In the Long Shadows of Inaction: The Quiet Building of a Climate Protection Movement in the United States
Abstract

Many observers perceive the US as an obstructionist force in global efforts to address greenhouse gas emissions. Federal leadership—despite rhetoric—remains absent even as the scientific consensus about the urgency of climate change and public acceptance of the reality of the problem are growing. This situation has created fertile ground for bottom-up political mobilization and action to reduce emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Using an actor-centered model of social movement evolution, this paper surveys the signs in civic society, the private sector, and at local and state government levels for the emergence of a climate protection movement in the United States. Diverse initiatives are networked and expanding, thus creating pressure for more federal action. This paper paints a more optimistic and realistic picture of actual efforts in climate protection in the United States, the immensity of the challenges remaining notwithstanding.


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