Global Warming. What do we do about the United States?

What do we do about the United States?  This essay examines the competing pressures and imperatives that have shaped the U.S. response to global warming and why it has failed, thus far, to assume a leadership role.  It will be discussed how, on the one hand, the U.S. is under pressure from the global community to show leadership, but on the other, is constrained by the imposition of business interests on public policy, institutional barriers, neoliberal political ideology and American unilateralism.

Whilst the Federal government has failed to prosecute its traditional leadership role, the economy is slowly transitioning to a low carbon economy thanks to initiatives by State and institutional forces.  These factors, along with the current devastating drought, are combining to fill the leadership vacuum vacated by Washington.  Genuine progress is now being made to decarbonize the economy.  How significantly this will address the question of what to do about the United States is discussed later in this essay.

It is important to understand why climate policy has been so difficult for the U.S. and why it has resulted in two decades of policy gridlock following the signing of the Rio Declaration and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the 1992 Earth Summit.  It was at this Summit that the specific language of the ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibility’ (CBDR)[1] was first introduced based on the principle encapsulated in that phrase that developed countries not only had the largest cumulative share of emissions but were the most capable of implementing the necessary adaptation measures.  As the largest emitter, the biggest economy and the most capable of addressing the problem, the burden for responsibility fell on U.S. shoulders.  It was inconceivable that dangerous and irreversible global warming could be prevented without the U.S. leading – and leading by example.  The U.S.’s past response to environmental crises may have resulted in international treaties to regulate acid rain, CFCs and ozone depletion[2] but as will be argued later in this essay, these were ratified prior to global consensus demanded action on greenhouse gas (GHG) and did not impact on U.S. economic interests in the same way.

In their article for The Globalist in July 2007on U.S. Exceptionalism and Climate Change (Part 1),[3] Eileen Claussen and Elliot Diringer (President and Vice-President, respectively, of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions [4]) argue that U.S. policy-making has long been influenced by its “divinely blessed uniqueness” or its sense of “exceptionalism”.   But they contend that there are competing strains of “exceptionalism” that influence not only U.S. policy on climate change but a range of foreign policies.  First and foremost is the U.S.’s “deep-seated ambivalence and at times antipathy toward international entanglements”[5].  This, the authors say, is compounded by the growing distrust of environment causes from neoliberal quarters and the dysfunctional system of government that divides responsibility for treaties between the executive and legislative branches.  Claussen and Diringer argue that if the U.S. taps into its “exceptionalism”, and overcomes those resisting action, especially regulation on GHG emissions, new opportunities for American businesses and industry will lead to a competitive edge in the global energy market and, thus, turn the neoliberal’s fear of unfair competition argument on its head.[6]

In her paper Climate Leadership and U.S. Exceptionalism[7] Professor Robyn Eckersley analyses how two complementary narratives, U.S. “exceptionalism” and U.S. “exemptionalism” have both shaped and constrained climate change policy.

An example of U.S. “exceptionalism” is the leadership shown on ratifying important multinational and international environment treaties, as previously mentioned.    But there was good reason for this, she argues.  Those treaties were compatible with the U.S.’s own economic priorities.  Eckersley examples the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, that resulted from a combination of social pressure and economic advantage to the local propellant industry.

In Merchants of Doubt,[8] Professor Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway underscore Reagan’s cynicism.  In 1977, the use of CFC propellants had already dropped by 75 percent.  Environmental campaigns around the world found a public willing to make the switch to CFC substitutes like roll-on anti-perspirants and pump action sprays, which often had the added bonus of being cheaper.  Flagging sales forced a quick response by the propellant industry.  Finding substitutes gave it a competitive edge over other countries slower to act. The ban [by the Environment Protection Agency] on propellant use which took effect in 1979, was, Oreskes and Conway claimed, merely the coup de grace.”[9]

However, in the case of action on global warming Eckersley contends we have seen the flip side of the coin, the U.S.’s “exemptionalism”.  Treaties that are not compatible or infringe on U.S. interests have not been ratified. Eckersley explains why the US’s role in the negotiation of special responsibilities has been mostly reactionary rather than positive and creative.

“Exceptionalism” says Eckersley has been invoked by U.S. Presidents to garner support from the American public for costs associated with other foreign policies by promoting cherished American values such as freedom, democracy and free enterprise.  But she submits a secondary narrative that explains why the U.S. is a regime changer rather than a regime follower.  Eckersley draws on John Ruggie[10] who posits that “exemptionalism” or the U.S.’s defence of its constitutional rights to author its own laws on its own terms is the reason behind its refusal to ratify treaties which it believes to be non-concordant with American values and way of life.

Significantly, the majority of international environmental treaties between 1970-1991 were ratified. From 1992 to the present, most have been signed but not ratified.  Eckersley points out that the earlier treaties were “green/green” (as she describes it) and did not impact on U.S. business interests whereas the latter, “green/brown”, did.[11]  According to Eckersley, these two complementary narratives – “exceptionalism” and “exemptionalism” – are the two factors that inform U.S. policy on climate change and the permissible boundaries within the policy framework where constraints on American values might be perceived to be at risk.

As a result of the U.S. vacating its leadership role over successive administrations, countries with smaller economies like Germany and the United Kingdom (U.K.) have been the trailblazers in arresting irreversible global warming.  A fundamental reason for Germany and the U.K. emerging as the leaders in the global warming crisis is that neither has a powerful fossil fuel lobby intent on subverting the democratic process to avoid costly regulation. There is also another major point of difference:  the U.K. and Germany have had continuity of bipartisanship on climate action policy, whereas in the U.S. (and Australia), the conservatives have employed wedge politics.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who trained as a chemist, was one of the first of the world’s leaders to warn of the threat to the planet’s eco-systems of increased GHG emissions[12].  This set the tone for future conservative governments. Thatcher closed many of the coalmines that had held successive governments to ransom with strikes[13].  The final mines were closed following the European Union’s war on acid rain, which saw firm limits set on sulfur emissions through the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Pollution[14].  By the time concerns were raised about global warming, the British had already transformed their energy production to gas.  Germany, with its long tradition of state and regulatory intervention was also quick to move to cut sulfur emissions.

The corruption of the democratic process in climate science policy making has been widely debated by political scholars, scientists and members of the commentariat.  In researching this subject, I have drawn on contributions to the debate by Professor Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway (Merchants of Doubt[15]), former Howard government adviser, turned whistle-blower, Dr. Guy Pearse (High & Dry[16]) (who looks at how the same vested interests have infiltrated the Australian policy process on climate change), Professor Robyn Eckersley (lecture notes[17] ), Mlada Bukovansky, et al Special Responsibilities: Global Power and American Power,[18] Arnim Rosenkrantz and Russell Conklin (National Policy in Climate Change Science & Policy[19]), Professor Robert Repetto (America’s Climate Problem: The Way Forward[20]) and lastly,Professor David Miller and William Dinan (A Century of Spin[21]) whose book charts the rise of PR and how it has subordinated democracy to corporate rule on both sides of the Atlantic.

 This essay argues that U.S.’s failure to commit to the principle of CBDR is influenced more by the concerns of the powerful fossil fuel lobby than any other section in society.  Like the Australian public[22], the majority of Americans want action on global warming[23] but, as we saw in Australia during the Howard government years, it was vested interests, rather than public opinion, that drove the policy agenda.

The hijacking by corporate interests of the public’s democratic right to input into the policy process violates the central tenet of the American constitution.  The words “government of the People, by the People, for the People” by President Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg address[24] in 1863 came to symbolize the American definition of democracy.  Instead, we have seen democracy subverted and subdued by those with the most to lose from regulations on GHG emissions.  The fossil fuel lobby has used its massive war chest to bankroll political parties and wage a hyperbolic war against scientific consensus on global warming.  This phony campaign by global warming denialists was, in turn, aided and abetted by a weak and complicit media.  The rise of the Tea Party funded by oil billionaires, David and Charles Koch[25]is a desperate last ditch stance to lock in profits and stave off regulation on emissions.  According to the US News report on 2 February 2011, $196 million in total was distributed in the past 10 years to conservative causes and institutions.  The Koch brothers’ personal wealth of $21.5 billion each makes them the third richest in the U.S. and a formidable opponent of any government that threatens the source of their power and wealth.  Rational debate, as proposed by normative theories of democracy, has, thus, been replaced by ‘government of the People for Big Carbon by Big Carbon’ (as evidenced further in this essay).

The fossil fuel lobby came to dominate the climate policy space in the U.S. with the establishment of a secret energy advisory group.  Just two weeks after Bush won office in 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney invited Enron, ExxonMobil, Peabody (the world’s largest coal company) and other leading players in the fossil fuel industry to form the National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG)[26].

It was no coincidence that Australia, whose economy is dominated by the same vested interests, followed suit.  The Australian example is provided to demonstrate how the power of these, in some cases, self-same, multinational corporations, led to Australia, one of the top twenty GHG emitters, doing little to rein these in. Prime Minister John Howard’s capture by the ‘Greenhouse Mafia’, (whose largesse his party enjoys today evidenced later in this essay) is graphically exposed by Liberal insider turned whistle-blower, Dr. Guy Pearse.[27] Like the NEPDG, Howard’s Low Emissions Technology Advisory Group (LETAG) consisted of a handpicked group of twelve high-level fossil fuel producers and generators including Rio Tinto, Edison Mission Energy, BHP Billiton, Alcoa and Orica.  Like the NEPDG, they met in secret.  Notably absent from both these key energy advisory groups in the U.S. and Australia was the renewable industry and environmental groups.  Alone among other developed countries (and something Bush didn’t do), Howard took key lobbyists from the mining industry along to climate conferences as members of the Australian delegation to help derail negotiations, starting with the Kyoto conference in 1997.

On a Greenpeace Australia Pacific-sponsored speaking tour in 2007 to promote his book (and doctoral thesis), Pearse told how he “followed the money down hundreds of poorly lit trails to think-tanks, lobbyists, and government departments, where so-called ‘independent’ research was able to influence policy outcomes”.[28] Pearse also revealed how the ‘greenhouse mafia’ boasted of their unrivalled access to internal government processes and, indeed, how they helped write cabinet submissions and ministerial briefings.

Similarly, Armin Rosenkranz and Russell Conklin[29] reveal that documents obtained from the Department of Energy by the Natural Resources Defense Council in 2002 prove that the fossil fuel industry’s recommendations found its way into official U.S. policy.  Like the Howard government, the Bush administration avoided a price on carbon or any regulation on GHG emissions in favour of research and development, tax incentives and energy efficiency measures.  (Democrat President, Bill Clinton, [1993-2001] accepted the need for binding emissions targets but failed to win domestic support for the international commitments made at Kyoto in 1997.[30])

Robert Repetto (2011)[31] agrees that it is not economic or technological hurdles that have steered successive U.S. administrations away from pricing carbon, but parochial and partisan politics.  Advancing the same ‘money politics’ argument, he says: “At the root of it is money”.[32]

According to Repetto, the average Senate election costs $5 million, which needs to be raised over the six-year election term.  Likewise, the cost of campaigning for the House of Representatives, at around $1 million over two years, requires the same amount averaged over a week.[33] Thus, bankrolling by the carbon lobby provides a substantial bribe to American politicians on both sides of politics.  Not only can political support be bought, claims Repetto,  “it can be bought cheaply, for nickels on the dollar, by interests with deep pockets”[34].

Repetto quotes the example of climate sceptic, anti-regulation Senator, James Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma and member of the key Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.  He accepted $US768,000 in contributions from oil and gas, electric utility and mining industries during the 110th Congress.[35]  Inhofe is one of many American politicians who rely on financial support from those with the most to lose from a price on carbon.

Repetto lists a total of 2780 registered climate lobbyists by end of 2009.  To put it another way, that’s five climate lobbyists for every member of Congress.  Repetto has ascertained that early 90 percent of these represented vested interest corporations.[36]

He argues that it is inconceivable that responsible corporate executive would spend hundreds of millions of dollars in political contributions without a return and quotes research by Alexander et al (2009)[37] showing that political lobbying returns the highest financial benefits of any form of investment for companies whose profits are affected by congressional action. [38]

The return on investment has been clearly successful for the fossil fuel lobby.  The U.S. is the only Annex 1 country not to ratify Kyoto (Australia having done so only after a change of government) and there is no price on carbon following the Republicans taking control of Congress in the mid-term elections despite President Barak Obama campaigning on a cap and trade scheme in the 2008 Presidential election. The current Copenhagen Accord target of minus 17 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels (amounting around minus 4 percent from 1990 levels) is hardly sufficient under the CBDR principle of burden sharing compared to the U.K.’s 50 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2025.

Global emissions jumped by 5.9 percent in 2010[39], the largest amount on record.   The U.S. is currently the world’s second biggest GHG emitter after China, Germany sixth, the U.K. tenth and Australia fourteenth.[40] In line with scientific recommendations, the U.K. is on track for the world’s most ambitious target at 60 percent cuts by 2030 and 80 percent cuts by 2050.  Germany’s target is similarly ambitious at minus 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80-85 percent by 2050 when it hopes to derive all its electricity from renewable energy[41].  Australia’s ‘unconditional’ commitment is just 5 percent below 2000 levels by 2020 or 108 percent of 1990 levels.

Repetto concludes with the ironic fact that the “nexus between money and political support is one of the few remaining examples of bipartisanship in Congress.”[42]   For example, on the important Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the biggest recipients of campaign donations from the gas, oil, electric energy and mining industries were Democrat Senators, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, who, in turn, voted with the Republicans to stop the EPA regulating greenhouse gas emissions.  Repetto reports that three-quarters of the American public don’t trust Congress to act in their interest – with good cause it would seem.

In an article in Crikey on 21 February, 2012 entitled The Rise and Rise of Mining Donations[43], Bernard Keane presented a graph showing how funding from the fossil fuel lobby to the Liberal National Party has increased exponentially following Labor’s victory in 2007 and the introduction of both a price on carbon and a minerals tax (see below).  Keane writes: “The sheer scale of mining company generosity illustrates why Tony Abbott remains committed to repealing the carbon pricing package and the mining tax”.

Donations mining Australia

What the above graph doesn’t do is reveal the $70 million in political donations unaccounted for in 2010/11, as some state branches, especially the Victorian Liberal Party which accounted for only 3% of its political donations, took advantage of Howard-era laws requiring them to only declare donations over $11,500.  No doubt the two Democrat Senators, Landrieu and Lincoln, would use the gap in donations between Labor and the LNP in Australia thanks to the Labor government’s policy on carbon pricing as vindication of their bid for self-preservation.

Apart from bankrolling politicians, energy industries have also manipulated public opinion with extensive public relations and disinformation campaigns to delay action on global warming.  In their book on ‘how public relations became the cutting edge of corporate power’, A Century of Spin[44], David Miller and William Dinan detail how vested corporate interests have corrupted the democratic process by imposing their interests on public policy over the interests of the public.[45] They conclude that PR has played a significant role over the past century, especially in neoliberal societies where governments are more concerned about business interests than other segments of society.  What we have seen is neoliberalism’s core belief in the sanctity of free markets translated into “what is good for business must be good for society.”[46]

There is another less significant but still compelling reason why the U.K. and Germany have outperformed the U.S. in emission reduction targets.  The seamless transition between conservative and social democrat governments has facilitated a similar smooth transition to a low carbon economy, assisted by the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme.

In the U.K., climate change policy has been bipartisan going back to the 70s and early 80s starting with the governments of:

Thatcher (Tory)→Major (Tory)→Blair Labor)→Brown(Labor)→Cameron(Tory/Dem) with the strong target of an 80 percent cut by 2050 legislated by the conservatives.

Similarly, in Germany, climate change policy has remained consistent under the governments of:

Kohl (CDU)→Schröder (SPD or Red/Green Alliance)→Merkel (CDU).

This is not the case in either the United States or Australia where the conservative parties (Republican/Tea Party and Liberal/National) with their cosy relationships to corporate vested interests have used action on global warming as a wedge.

But in spite of U.S. political failure to introduce a price on carbon, it has every chance of meeting meet its Copenhagen Accord target with ease.  The irony is that thanks must go to innovative environmental legislation introduced by a Republican President.  During his administration, President Richard Nixon (1969-1974), delivered a raft of environmental legislation.  It included the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Clean Air Act.[47]  It is the EPA that will now micromanage the move to a low carbon economy in the absence of political will by Congress. The landmark Supreme Court decision in 2007 ruling that CO2 was a ‘pollutant’ and a threat to public health under the Clean Air Act – thus qualifying it for regulation by the EPA – was upheld in June this year by the Court of Appeals.[48]  The consequence of this in relation to the future of the coal industry and the leverage given to U.S achieving its target cannot be underestimated.

Unlike Australia’s state-run, toothless EPAs, the U.S. EPA will do most of the heavy lifting.  The Clean Air Act limits carbon emissions to 1000 pounds of CO2 per MW hour of power produced. Emissions standards also apply to other industries as well as cars and light trucks. This means that only natural gas power plants can meet the standard.  New coal-fired power stations emit nearly twice this amount.  The only way a new coal-fired power station can now be built in the U.S. is with the expensive and still technically unproven carbon capture and storage.[49]

Record low gas prices have already signalled early retirement for many existing coal-fired power stations.

The public’s support for coal mining is also waning as mining creates more social and health problems.  In the Eastern states, the practice of mountain top removal has lead to over 1200 miles of the region’s streams being destroyed.[50]  Rosenkranz and Conklin predict the falling domestic production of oil as another flashpoint, especially now that 85% of the coast is off limits together with the economic consequences of being left behind in the low carbon technology market.[51]

Repetto quotes the interior States including Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, are the key resource States which, due to population distribution, are over-represented in the Senate. But these States are also the most vulnerable as they are dependent on coal-fired power.  Many of these inner resource States were won narrowly by Obama in the 2008 election and may decide the November Presidential election.  Pollsters are pointing to Virginia as critical for an Obama win.  Although once predominantly an agriculture-based economy it is also a resource rich State, including coal.

As the economy transitions to low carbon, forward thinking energy companies such as Exelon and NextEra which had moved to natural gas look set for big gains whilst those who generated most of their energy from coal will be the losers.  Exelon and NextEra are both members of USCAP,[52]a coalition of energy corporations and environment groups endorsing cap and trade legislation.   An important bill that the House of Representatives did enact was the American Clean Energy and Security (Waxman-Markey) Act in June 2009.  The bill created a price on carbon through a cap and trade system.  But it had no chance of endorsement by a Senate hostile to action on global warming so it was withdrawn in favour of a more limited focus on the Mexican Gulf oil spill.

If the public can be persuaded of the consequences of non-action, according to Repetto, a real upsurge in public demand for action could convince the Senate to endorse the bill.  This would involve convincing the public of the connection between increasingly extreme weather events and climate change.  As Repetto sees it:

“This is by far the greatest environmental challenge in American history and the Obama administration should use its ‘bully pulpit’ courageously to say so.  When the public understands that, it will demand action.”[53]

The Australian drought certainly galvanised public appetite for action on global warming back in 2007.  With crops failing and rivers drying up in the lead up to the federal election at that time, public support for action on global warming was at an all time high.  The Lowy poll that year showed over 65 percent of Australians saw global warming as a serious and pressing problem, requiring action, even at a significant cost.[54].  Bloomberg Businessweek warns of the rising cost of food: “The drought gripping more than half the country is a major reason why consumers can expect to pay 3 percent to 4 percent more for groceries next year.”[55]

By all accounts, America’s drought this year is one for the record books.[56] “Widespread annual droughts, once a rare calamity, have become more frequent and are set to become the ‘new normal’”, Huffington Post reported.[57]

Eckersley believes that sub-national initiatives will also play an important role in reducing U.S. GHG emissions. [58] She cites ‘The California Effect’.  Thanks to the California government’s bold Global Warming Solution Act 2006,[59] emissions in that State are on track to be reduced by 2020 to 1990 levels and an impressive 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, matching the U.K. and Germany.  As the eighth largest economy in the world, California has the power to galvanize action beyond its borders.  Its cap and trade scheme commenced at the beginning of 2012 and it is developing a joint cap and trade program with British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba through the Western Climate Initiative.[60]  There are now sixteen U.S. states and four Canadian provinces in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Mid-Western and Western GHG trading schemes.

Another powerful institution cited by Eckersley that could play a major role in decarbonizing the economy is the U.S. Department of Defense.  In its Quadrennial Defence Review 2010[61] it identified crucial links between climate change, energy security and economic stability.  The U.S. military has invested in climate assessment tools and scaled up investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for all it installations.  Significantly, it sees climate change as a ‘threat multiplier’ and has identified energy efficiency as ‘force multiplier’.[62]

Just last week, the U.S. Navy Secretary announced[63] : “Biofuel technology has arrived” touting a so-called “Green Fleet” of ships as well as a bio-fuelled “Green Hornet F-18.

In the lead up to the Presidential election in November, the battle lines have been drawn on climate action policy between the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, and incumbent Democrat, Barack Obama.  Signalling a return to Bush’s ‘business first, people last’ agenda, Romney opposes fuel-economy standards and wants to expand tax breaks for the big oil companies.  Not surprisingly, he is advocating less investment in wind power.  This could make U.S.’s Copenhagen Accord target more difficult.  But as has been evidenced in this essay, forces outside the Washington have wrested the policy agenda back from the vested interests driving it.

Regardless which candidate wins the Presidency, forward thinkers in the business community are carving themselves a slice of the low carbon economy.  This may quell the growing chorus of foreign policy thinkers who see America losing its place in the world.[64]

Having declared war on carbon, the U.S. military may remain the world’s best hope of preventing irreversible global warming.  One of the most profound technologies of our time was invented by the U.S. Department of Defense during World War II – the computer.  This invention led to another extraordinary human achievement in generating information and ideas – the Internet.

The U.S. has been the underwriter of global stability since that war.  To disengage now from its global responsibilities with the prospect of runaway global warming would leave a vacuum few other nations could fill.  Only “exceptionalism” will prevent such a tragedy and it is unlikely that the American collective psyche will ignore a challenge that threatens its very existence.

This essay was written on 24 October 2012 prior to the US election and was published in an abridged form in Independent Australia on 25  October 2012 as ‘Burning the Budgies on US Carbon’


United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, website:

Common But Differentiated Responsibilities, website:

Environment Protection Agency, Clean Air Act, website:

Claussen, E and Diringer, E in ‘US Exceptionalism and Climate Change’ (Part 1), The Globalist, July 19, 2007:

Claussen, E and Diringer, E in ‘US Exceptionalism and Climate Change’ (Part II), The Globalist, July 20, 2007:

Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, website:

Eckersley, R. ‘Climate Leadership & U.S. Exceptionalism’, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne

Oreskes, N & Conway E, 2010, Merchants of Doubt, Bloomsbury Press, NY

Ruggie, J.G. (2006b) ‘American exceptionalism, exemptionalism and global governance’. In American Exceptionalism and Human Rights, edited by Michael Ignatieff. Princeton University Press, 2005

The U.K. Telegraph, website:

BBC News, website:

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, website:

Bukovansky, Mlada; Ian Clark; Robyn Eckersley; Richard Price; Christian Reus-Smit and Nicholas J. Wheeler. 2012. Special Responsibilities: Global Power and American Power. Cambridge University Press. Chapter 4.

Rosenkranz, A and Conklin, R, 2010 ‘National Policy’ in Schneider, S, Rosenkranz, A, Mastrandrea, M and Kuntz-Duriseti, K (eds) 2010, Climate Change Science and Policy. Island Press, Washington DC.

Repetto, R, 2011. America’s Climate Problem: The Way Forward. Earthscan: London

CO2, website:

The U.K. Guardian, website:

Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, website:

Pearse, G, Greenpeace Australia Pacific speaking tour 17-27 October 2007, website:

Crikey, website:

Reuters Edition U.S., website:

Global CCS Institute, website:

United States Climate Action Partnership, website:

CNN, website:

Huffington Post, website:

Business Week, website:

California Environmental Protection Agency, Air Resources Board, website:

Western Climate Initiative, website:

United States Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review, website:

Advanced Biofuels USA, website:

Friedman, T.L. and Mandelbaum, M. 2012, That Used To Be Us – How America fell behind the world it invented and how it can come back, Picador, N.Y.

[1]United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, website: viewed 8 October 2012

[2] U.S. Environment Protection Agency, website: viewed 13 October 2012

[3] Claussen, E and Diringer, E in ‘US Exceptionalism and Climate Change’ (Part 1) The Globalist, July 19, 2007, website: viewed 14 October 2012

[4] Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, website: viewed 18 October 2012

[5] Claussen, E and Diringer E, op.cit, Part 1

[6] Claussen, E and Diringer, E in ‘US Exceptionalism and Climate Change’ (Part II) in The Globalist, July 20, 2007, website: viewed 14 October 2012

[7] Eckersley, R, ‘Climate Leadership & U.S. Exceptionalism’, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne

[8] Oreskes, N & Conway E, 2010, Merchants of Doubt, Bloomsbury Press, NY

[9] ibid. pp. 117-118

[10] Ruggie, J G (2006b) ‘American exceptionalism, exemptionalism and global governance’. In American Exceptionalism and Human Rights, edited by Michael Ignatieff. Princeton University Press, 2005, pp. 304-338.

[11] Eckersley, R, Climate Change Politics & Policy, Seminar 8, ‘The United States’, University of Melbourne, 11 September 2012

[13] BBC News, website: viewed 14 October 2012

[14] United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, website: viewed 14 October 2012

[15] Oreskes, N & Conway E, op.cit.

[16] Pearse, G, 2007, High & Dry, Penguin Group (Australia)

[17] Eckersley, R, Climate Change Politics & Policy, Seminar 8, ‘The United States’, University of Melbourne, 11 September 2012

[18] Bukovansky, Mlada; Ian Clark; Robyn Eckersley; Richard Price; Christian Reus-Smit and Nicholas J. Wheeler. 2012. Special Responsibilities: Global Power and American Power. Cambridge University Press. Chapter 4.

[19] Rosenkranz, A and Conklin, R, 2010 ‘National Policy’ in Schneider, S, Rosenkranz, A, Mastrandrea, M and Kuntz-Duriseti, K (eds) 2010, Climate Change Science and Policy. Island Press, Washington DC.

[20] Repetto, R, 2011. America’s Climate Problem: The Way Forward. Earthscan: London

[21] Miller, D & Dinan, 2008, W, A Century of Spin, Pluto Press London & NY.

[23] Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, website: viewed 17 October 2012

[24] LibertyOnline, website:, viewed 17 October 2012

[26] Sourcewatch ‘Cheney Energy Taskforce’, website:, viewed 14 October 2012

[27] Pearse, G, op.cit.

[28] Pearse, G, Greenpeace Australia Pacific speaking tour 17-27 October 2007 on Greenpeace Australia Pacific website:, viewed 18 October 2012

[29] Rosenkranz, A and Conklin, R, op.cit.

[30] Bukovansky, Mlada, op.cit. Chapter 4.

[31] Repetto, R, 2011. America’s Climate Problem: The Way Forward. Earthscan: London.

[32] Ibid, p.149

[33] Repetto, R, pp 149-150

[34] Repetto, R, p.151

[35] Repetto, R, p.151

[36] Repetto, R, op.cit. p.153

[37] Alexander, R, Mazza, S and Scholz, S (2009) ‘Measuring rates of return for lobbying expenditures: An empirical analysis under the Jobs Creation Act’, University of Kansas School of Business, Repetto, Repetto, R, op.cit. website: papers.cfm?abstract_id=1375082

[38] Repetto, R, op.cit, p.151

[39] CO2, website:, viewed 19 October 2012

[40] Trends in Global CO2 Emissions 2012 Report, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency in conjunction with the European Commission Joint Research Centre

[42] Repetto, R, op.cit. p.151

[44] Miller, D & Dinan, W, A Century of Spin, Pluto Press London & NY, 2008.

[45] Miller, D & Dinan, W op.cit. p. 1

[46] ibid. p. 1

[47] U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, website:, viewed 18 October 2012

[48] Reuters Edition U.S., website:, viewed 28 June, 2012

[50] Repetto, R, op.cit, p.169

[51] Rosenkranz, A & Conklin, R, op. cit. p. 350

[52] United States Climate Action Partnership, website: viewed 19 October 2012

[53] Repetto, R, op cit, p. 166

[58] Eckersley, R, Climate Change Politics & Policy, Seminar 8, ‘The United States’, University of Melbourne, 11 September 2012

[59] California Environmental Protection Agency, Air Resources Board, website:, viewed 20 October 2012

[60] Western Climate Initiative, website:, viewed 20 October 2012

[61] United States Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review, website:, viewed 18 October 2012

[62] Eckersley, R, Climate Change Politics & Policy, Seminar 8, ‘The United States’, University of Melbourne, 11 September 2012

[64] Friedman, T.L. and Mandelbaum, M. 2012, That Used To Be Us – How America fell behind the world it invented and how it can come back, Picador N.Y.


1 thought on “Global Warming. What do we do about the United States?

  1. Pingback: Big Gas and its political lackeys: Attacking Australians’ rights | Carbon Claptrap … and other bunkum

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