United States International Environmental Policy

Elizabeth R. Desombre

in The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Environmental Policy

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199744671
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:
United States International Environmental Policy


This article analyzes the determinants of U.S. international environmental policy. The U.S. has always exhibited a streak of reluctance about international environmental cooperation, sometimes taking on leadership roles but often resisting or actively hindering international action to address environmental problems. Several hypotheses have been proposed to account for U.S. behavior: a general U.S. suspicion of multilateralism that may be a manifestation of a belief in U.S. exceptionalism; the costliness of environmental regulation or special characteristics of the United States that make international environmental action more difficult on some issues than for other states; concern about international action that delivers benefits primarily to developing states at a cost to the United States; or even the existing uncertainty present in many international environmental issues.

Keywords: environmental policy; international environmental cooperation; leadership; U.S. exceptionalism

Article.  10040 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics

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