Political Science and Prediction: What's Next for U.S. Climate Change Policy?
Article first published online: 31 JAN 2007
Review of Policy Research
Volume 24, Issue 1, pages 1–27, January 2007
How to Cite
Selin, H. and VanDeveer, S. D. (2007), Political Science and Prediction: What's Next for U.S. Climate Change Policy?. Review of Policy Research, 24: 1–27. doi: 10.1111/j.1541-1338.2007.00265.x
- Issue published online: 31 JAN 2007
- Article first published online: 31 JAN 2007
- US environmental politics;
- climate change;
- policy prediction
This article analyzes how U.S. climate change politics and policy making are changing in the public, private and civil society sectors, and how such changes are likely to influence U.S. federal policies. It outlines the current status of U.S. climate change action and explores four overlapping pathways of policy change: (1) the strategic demonstration of the feasibility of climate change action; (2) the creation and expansion of markets; (3) policy diffusion and learning; and (4) the creation and promulgation of norms about the need for more aggressive climate change action. These four pathways seek to fruitfully draw from rationalist and constructivist approaches to policy analysis, without collapsing or confusing the different logics. Building on this analysis, it predicts that future federal U.S. climate policy will include six major components: (1) A national cap on GHG emissions; (2) A national market based cap-and-trade GHG emissions trading scheme; (3) Mandatory renewable energy portfolio standards; (4) Increased national product standards for energy efficiency; (5) Increased vehicle fleet energy efficiency standards; and (6) Increased federal incentives for research and development on energy efficiency issues and renewable energy development. In addition, expanding federal climate policy may bring about significant changes in U.S. foreign policy as U.S. international re-engagement on climate change is likely to occur only after the development of more significant federal policy.