24 Pages

The US: Still reluctant and unreliable

There was a time when the United States (US) had an environmental awakening that took the country by storm. Between 1968 and 1972 and through the better part of the 1970s, public opinion rallied for environmental action. Today's funders of the widespread and effective "campaigns of doubt" that have questioned the scientific validity of climate change had not yet unleashed their divisive rhetoric to oppose public mobilization. It seemed that America took pleasure in taking action as people asked challenging questions in search of information. Newspaper articles of that time describe the apprehension ahead of Earth Day. When Ronald Reagan was elected he came to power determined to tackle what he saw as over-regulation. Scientific warnings of the growing threat to the global climate raised an alarm in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Cost-benefit analysis maintained its momentum in public discourse over the Bush administration and into the Clinton years, with a preference for market-based instruments.