Historian Joshua Howe argues in his book ‘Behind the Curve’ that political policies on climate change have been hindered by a lack of public engagement and understanding of the issue. He suggests that policymakers have failed to effectively communicate the urgency of the situation and the need for immediate action. Howe also highlights the influence of special interest groups in shaping climate policy, which has resulted in a slow and inadequate response to the crisis. Overall, Howe’s argument emphasizes the importance of public education and engagement in addressing climate change. He argues that political debates on climate change became more intractable due to the increasing polarization of political parties and the influence of special interest groups. This has resulted in a lack of political will to take action on climate change, as well as a reluctance to engage in meaningful dialogue and compromise. Furthermore, the politicization of climate change has led to a focus on short-term economic interests rather than long-term environmental sustainability.
For example, The fossil fuel industry, which is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, has spent millions of dollars on lobbying efforts to influence policymakers and delay action on climate change. In addition, some politicians who receive funding from these industries have actively denied the existence of climate change and obstructed efforts to address it. As a result, the US has fallen behind other countries in taking action on this critical global issue.
The Kyoto Protocol was an international agreement signed in 1997 with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It required participating countries to set targets for reducing their emissions and to implement policies and measures to achieve those targets. However, the effectiveness of the Protocol has been debated, as some countries did not meet their targets and others, such as the United States, withdrew from the agreement altogether. This is due to concerns about the potential economic impact on the United States. The Bush administration believed that the protocol did not do enough to address the emissions of developing countries, such as China and India. Ultimately, the administration chose not to sign the protocol.
The United States resists international agreements on climate change and gas emission reduction due to a combination of political, economic and ideological factors. These include concerns about the impact on domestic industries, the perceived loss of national sovereignty, and skepticism about the scientific consensus on climate change. Additionally, some politicians and interest groups argue that such agreements would be too costly and ineffective in achieving their intended goals. Despite these challenges, there is growing recognition of the urgent need for global action on climate change, and many countries are working together to find solutions.