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Failures of American and European Climate Policy, The

International Norms, Domestic Politics, and Unachievable Commitments

Loren R. Cass

Publication Year: 2006

In this timely work, Loren R. Cass argues that international norms and normative debates provide the keys to understanding the evolution of both domestic and international responses to the threat of global climate change. Ranging from the early identification and framing of this problem in the mid 1980s through the Kyoto Protocol’s entry into force in 2005, Cass focuses on two normative debates that were critical to the development of climate policy—who should bear primary responsibility for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and what principles would guide these reductions. He examines why some nations, but not others, have met their commitments, and concludes that while many states affirmed the international norms, most did not fully translate them into domestic policy. Cass offers an index to measure the domestic salience of international norms and compare the level of salience across states and within states over time, and uses it to assess the European Union, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Global Environmental Policy

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v

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CHAPTER ONE Climate Policy and the Domestic Salience of International Norms

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pp. 1-18

Climate change emerged as a major political issue in the late 1980s. As a recently identified environmental threat, the science was not well understood, and the economic consequences were uncertain. Scientists, political leaders, business executives, and the general public had to examine the threat, ...

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CHAPTER TWO Issue Framing, Norm Emergence, and the Politicization of Climate Change (Villach to Geneva)

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pp. 19-52

This chapter analyzes the issue definition and agenda setting stages of climate policy. The scientific community initiated the research and scientific discussion that created the foundation for the ensuing political debates. The growing scientific evidence of a human impact on the atmosphere compelled each country’s ...

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CHAPTER THREE International Norms and the Politics of Emission Reduction Commitments (Chantilly to Rio)

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pp. 53-92

The initiation of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Climate Change (INC) in February 1991 marked the beginning of the second stage of climate negotiations. The international diplomatic focus began to shift from problem definition to the negotiation of an international policy response. ...

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CHAPTER FOUR The Domestic Political Salience of International Norms? (Rio to Berlin)

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pp. 93-122

The climate negotiations from the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 can be divided into two phases. The period from the signing of the FCCC in Rio through the negotiation of the 1995 Berlin Mandate was characterized by domestic debates over the feasibility of reducing ...

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CHAPTER FIVE Domestic Conflict and International Normative Debates (Berlin to Kyoto)

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pp. 123-162

The period from the completion of the Berlin Mandate to the signing of the Kyoto Protocol involved intense international negotiations and domestic political conflict but limited domestic policy action. The dynamics of the negotiations were very similar to those leading up to the Berlin Mandate. ...

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CHAPTER SIX Rhetoric and Reality: The United States vs. the World? (Kyoto to Marrakech)

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pp. 163-218

The signing of the Kyoto Protocol was a high point of international action to address climate change. In the weeks after the Kyoto conference, nearly all of the major industrial states retreated from the commitments contained in the Protocol. None of them directly challenged the headline emission reduction commitments. ...

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pp. 219-232

The case studies of German, British, and American climate policy support the argument that material interests and relative power positions alone cannot explain the evolution of domestic and international climate policy. It is necessary to integrate normative debates with material forces to explain national responses ...


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pp. 233-256


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pp. 257-260


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pp. 261-273

E-ISBN-13: 9780791481172
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791468555
Print-ISBN-10: 0791468550

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: SUNY series in Global Environmental Policy