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SAGE Publications

Cover Image: Changing Climate Politics: US Policies and Civic Action
  • Date: 03/18/2014
  • Format: Print Paperback
  • Price: $39.00
  • ISBN: 978-1-4522-3997-2
  • Pages: 184
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Changing Climate Politics: US Policies and Civic Action
Yael Wolinsky-Nahmias, University of Southern California

Changing Climate Politics provides a comprehensive account of the current state of government action and political participation in the United States on the issue of climate change. The book evaluates the role of the federal government, the courts, states, and cities in tackling the problems created by climate change, offering an inclusive and balanced assessment of progress and challenges. The book further explores the growing role of civic society in climate action plans, analyzing public opinion, the U.S. climate movement, policy making through ballot measures, consumer action, and the prospect of a social transformation toward a more sustainable society. This timely volume examines new approaches to policies and civic action on climate change addressing critical questions about the responsibilities and obligations of governments and citizens.


  • Unique to this book, contributing authors integrate institutional and social aspects of climate change problems, encouraging readers to critically analyze the operation of democratic processes on an urgent domestic and international issue.
  • The volume offers a multi-disciplinary approach, bringing together prominent experts and the latest scholarship from public policy, law, political psychology, political science, and sociology.
  • Chapters use a variety of cases, figures, and examples, as well as include an extensive set of references.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Global Climate Politics
     Yael Wolinsky-Nahmias
Part I. Changing Climate Policies in the United States
2. The Limits of National Climate Policy Making and the Role of the Courts
     Kirsten Engel
3. A New Era of States' Climate Policies?
     Barry Rabe
4. Climate Policy Innovation in the American Cities
     Rachel Krause
Part II. Civic Society and Climate Change
5. Explaining Public Conflict and Consensus on the Climate
     Dennis Chong
6. The U.S. Climate Change Movement
     Robert Brulle
7. Environmental Policies on the Ballot
     Diana Forster and Daniel Smith
8. Consumer Political Action on Climate Change
     Lauren Copeland and Eric Smith
9. The Politics of Urgent Transition
     Thomas Princen
“Given congressional inability to address climate change, it would be easy to conclude that the United States is destined to fail at this greatest of environmental challenges. But this timely volume demonstrates that civil society, the courts, local and state governments are all exhibiting important, fascinating change and innovation. In addition to offering a much-needed update on policy innovation at judicial, state and municipal levels, Changing Climate Politics offers a comprehensive account of civil society’s role. This ranges from public opinion and movement politics to ballot-box environmental policy and political consumerism. These chapters are all as readable as they are informative, making Changing Climate Politics a key text for practitioners and students alike.” - Daniel Press, University of California, Santa Cruz

Changing Climate Politics: US Policies and Civic Action edited by Yael Wolinsky-Nahmias is an excellent book for teaching university courses on environmental politics. The book’s design is very useful for classroom discussion. It first provides an overview of the institutional structure of policymaking and then moves on to the less formal civil society influences on environmental policy. The book is well written and interesting. I highly recommend it.” - Matt Evans, Pennsylvania State University

"Wolinsky-Nahmias has assembled an outstanding group of contributors who collectively provide an excellent introduction to the complex fabric of US climate change politics. In examining a range of initiatives across different governmental jurisdictions and in the realm of civil society, the volume captures the diverse patterns, textures, and dimensions of the American political debate around this important topic." - Michele M. Betsill, Colorado State University
Yael Wolinsky-Nahmias, University of Southern California
Yael Wolinsky-Nahmias is an Associate Professor of the Practice in Environmental Studies and Political Science at the University of Southern California. She has written on environmental politics, climate change, and international relations and is the co-editor of Cases, Numbers, Models: International Relations Research Methods, a widely adopted book that examines different approaches to the study of international relations. She previously taught at Northwestern University, where she was the Director of the Environmental Policy and Culture Program.
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