A historical analysis of US climate change policy in the Pan-American context

Document Type


Publication Date



The problem that climate change poses globally is being addressed locally through the use of diverse policy responses in many countries. Following its five-decade history of environmental policy making in the USA, the country has employed a particular mix of different renewable energy policy instruments, or tools, in order to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and replace fossil fuels with renewably sourced energy. We analyze and compare renewable energy policies and policy instruments from 2000 to 2016 for Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico with the USA, to determine what makes the USA unique in its robust approach to climate policy and reflect on the time periods when policy making has been the most active. We found that the most often used regulatory instruments in the USA to achieve its climate policy goals have been Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements implemented at the state level, with federal climate mitigation policy being contested.

Publisher's Statement

This is a pre-print of an article published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13412-018-0476-7

Publication Title

Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences