Over the past three decades, climate change has moved from being a minor, mostly scientific, matter in the affairs of states to being a prominent, frontburner foreign policy priority. It is also now a major concern of international organizations, industry, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and a growing number of people around the world. As climate change has grown in prominence among other foreign policy priorities, so too have predictions of its adverse impacts on nature and societies. Indeed, many of the effects are being felt today. Governments have negotiated agreements to study climate change and, in the case of many developed states, to start limiting the pollution that causes it. However, their responses to the problem have failed to keep up with the increasing pace of climate change; they are grossly inadequate. Why this lackluster response to what is likely the greatest problem yet

faced by humanity? In this book we aim to help answer this important question by examining the policies of a variety of states from both the developed and developing worlds. Our main aims are: (1) to analyze the politics of climate change within and among states; and (2) to supplement existing knowledge of climate politics by focusing on the actors and processes of foreign policy. A premise underlying our work is that analyzing and thinking about climate change from the perspective of foreign policy – the crossovers and interactions between domestic and international politics – will help us to better understand how and why governments have responded the way that they have. Our analyses of climate change politics from the perspective of foreign policy (and other perspectives) can, we believe, reveal new explanations for what has happened in the past and possibly some new solutions to foster greater action in the future. In this chapter I lay a foundation for subsequent chapters by first sum-

marizing some of the recent scientific findings on the impacts of climate change. I then describe how governments have created a regime of international agreements and ongoing diplomatic negotiations aimed at tackling the problem. I begin by explaining why governments have not done more about climate change by pointing to the ideational complexity of the problem. I go on to show how the politics of climate change can be thought of in terms of

between the domestic and international arenas of politics and policymaking. Because foreign policy analysis focuses on these crossovers, and indeed encompasses them, it is a potentially productive way of understanding the world’s responses to climate change. Finally, I summarize the chapters that follow before making some concluding remarks.1