Cale Jaffe

Melting the Polarization Around Climate Change Politics

Georgetown Environmental Law Review


Climate change has become one of the most highly polarized political problems, but it was not always this way. As recently as 2008, leading Republicans and Democrats agreed on the implications of global warming research. This Article charts how the United States moved from a bipartisan agreement on the need to address climate change to the current state of seemingly intractable polarization. From the perspective of someone who has worked with environmental non-profits, this Article suggests that advocates need to disrupt the conventional wisdom on climate change politics if they are to achieve lasting success. Tackling a problem like climate change requires sustaining pollution reduction efforts over many decades, even as the political pendulum continues to swing. Because of that, environmentalists must embrace the goal of cultivating a working coalition regardless of who is in power.


Cale Jaffe, Melting the Polarization Around Climate Change Politics, 30 Georgetown Environmental Law Review 455-497 (2018).

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