Domestic politics and greenhouse gas emission control: Washington's turn to act by ProQuest


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									Vincent Arel-Bundock &
Pierre Martin

Domestic politics
and greenhouse gas
emission control
Washington’s turn to act

Did the politics of greenhouse gas emissions play any role in the historic
elections of 2008? And, most importantly, will the election of the Democrat
Barack Obama to the White House make any difference for the US policy
on climate change? Although environmental issues were not central in the
voting calculations of the average American last November, there are
fundamental differences between Democrats and Republicans on the
environment—particularly on climate change—and it does matter at this

Vincent Arel-Bundock is an MA candidate in political science at McGill University. He also
is a student associate in the chair in American political and economic studies at the
Université de Montréal, where he graduated with a degree in economics and politics. Pierre
Martin is professor of political science and director of the chair in American political and
economic studies at the Université de Montréal. His most recent book, edited with Michel
Fortmann, is Le système politique américain (Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2008).

                                         | International Journal | Winter 2008-09 | 163 |
| Vincent Arel-Bundock & Pierre Martin |

crucial juncture that Democrats will be in control at both ends of
Pennsylvania Avenue.
     We start with a few observations that highlight the differences between
the two parties in this policy area. Then we move on to a brief assessment of
the Bush record, followed by a discussion of the place of the climate change
issue in the 2008 presidential election. We conclude that, after several years
during which most of the initiatives in this area came from state and
provincial governments in the United States and Canada, the election of a
Democratic administration that is seriously committed to greenhouse gas
emission control represents a unique opportunity to make concrete progress
in this area.

Despite a general rise in the awareness of climate change, a number of
indicators reveal deep partisa
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