News Analysis

Controversial Study Probes Reasons for Climate Bill Failure

A new report analyzes the failure to get carbon restrictions passed in the U.S. during President Obama’s first term in office. Laying much of the blame at the feet of environmental groups for not understanding their opposition, the analysis suggests future strategies for developing successful climate legislation.

“Naming the Problem,” penned by Harvard University political scientist Theda Skocpol, Ph.D., for Harvard’s February 2013 Symposium on the Politics of America’s Fight Against Global Warming, excoriates environmentalists for what Skocpol calls their “rationalizations” about the defeat of cap-and-trade legislation (which would have placed restrictions on carbon emissions while allowing companies to buy and sell carbon shares). Common explanations shift the blame either to the recession or to President Obama’s lack of leadership on the matter. In reality, says Skocpol, cap and trade was defeated largely by its own supporters’ disregard of increasing polarization on the issue.

Published February 7, 2013

Weaver, E. (2013, February 7). Controversial Study Probes Reasons for Climate Bill Failure. Retrieved from