Abstract

How do we understand national climate change politics in the United States? Using a methodological innovation in network analysis, this paper analyzes discussions about the issue within the US Congress. Through this analysis, the ideological relationships among speakers providing Congressional testimony on the issue of climate change are mapped. For the first time, issue stances of actors are systematically aggregated in order to measure coalitions and consensus among political actors in American climate politics in a relational way. Our findings show how consensus formed around the economic implications of regulating greenhouse gases and the policy instrument that should do the regulating. The paper is separated into three sections. First, we review the ways scholars have looked at climate change policymaking in the United States, paying particular attention to those who have looked at the issue within the US Congress. Next, we present analysis of statements made during Congressional hearings on climate change over a four-year period. Our analysis demonstrates how a polarized ideological actor space in the 109th Congress transforms into a more consensual actor landscape in the 110th Congress, which is significantly less guided by partisan differences. This paper concludes by discussing how these findings help us understand shifting positions within American climate politics and the implications of these findings.

Author
Fisher, Dana R., Leifield, Philip & Iwaki, Yoko
Title
Mapping the Ideological Networks of American Climate Politics
Page range
523 – 545
Volume
116
Date / Year
Jul 2012
Journal
Climatic Change