Open Access

The Environment, A Bipartisan Issue?: Partisanship Polarization and Climate Change Policies in the United States


Responding to climate change presents significant challenges on both international and domestic fronts. The current U.S. federal government disclaims a connection between climate change, and human activity, and embraces an environmental program that includes withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change Agreement at international level and retrenchment from regulation domestically. This Article comments on the rollback of Obama-era environmental regulations now taking place at federal level and locates these policies in the context of the domestic polarization and partisanship that now characterizes U.S. politics. It notes that environmental regulation divides the Republican and Democratic Parties but that the response of individual party members may be more nuanced, particularly amongst younger voters. The Article comments on state level initiatives to counteract the effects of climate change that have gathered bipartisan support but are now subject to partisan actions by the federal government designed to limit their effectiveness. The Article concludes with the observation that as the combination of an aging demographic and alignment with a declining fossil fuel industry shrinks the GOP traditional constituency, it is to be hoped that far-sighted politicians from both parties will embrace credibility on this issue as a key component of enhancing their own as well as the planet’s survival.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Law, History, Philosophy and Sociology of Law, International Law, Foreign Law, Comparative Law, other, Public Law