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CSSN Scholar Publications

Climate policy conflict in the U.S. states: a critical review and way forward

February 25, 2022

The CSSN working group on Climate Conflict in the U.S. States, co-led by CSSN Scholars Joshua A. Basseches and Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo, has published a review in Climatic Change on current climate policies in U.S. states and propose strategies for tackling the climate crisis.

CSSN co-authors: Joshua A. Basseches, Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo, Maxwell T. Boykoff, Trevor Culhane, Galen Hall, Noel Healy, David J. Hess, David Hsu, Rachel M. Krause, Harland Prechel, J. Timmons Roberts & Jennie C. Stephens

Many U.S. states have taken significant action on climate change in recent years, demonstrating their commitment despite federal policy gridlock and rollbacks. Yet, there is still much we do not know about the agents, discourses, and strategies of those seeking to delay or obstruct state-level climate action. We first ask, what are the obstacles to strong and effective climate policy within U.S. states? We review the political structures and interest groups that slow action, and we examine emerging tensions between climate justice and the technocratic and/or market-oriented approaches traditionally taken by many mainstream environmental groups. Second, what are potential solutions for overcoming these obstacles? We suggest strategies for overcoming opposition to climate action that may advance more effective and inclusive state policy, focusing on political strategies, media framing, collaboration, and leveraging the efforts of ambitious local governments.

Image Credit: Shutterstock/ petrmalinak