Issue Brief

Climate Change: Top 10 Precepts for U.S. Foreign Policy

Jan 14, 2009 | Daniel Bodansky

In this Issue Brief from RFF’s Climate Policy Program, Daniel Bodansky asserts that U.S. leadership is essential if global climate issues are to be managed successfully. That will not be an easy task, he says, despite growing scientific consensus and increasing public concern about climate issues. He suggests that the most important lesson learned from the Kyoto Protocol process is that adoption of domestic legislation is essential to give U.S. foreign policy both international credibility and a domestic political base. To accomplish its aims, U.S. foreign policy will need to find middle ground. Bodansky offers ten guidelines that can help craft an international regime that gives countries flexibility to pursue different tracks and encourage action through financial assistance.

Daniel Bodansky is the Woodruff Professor of International Law at the University of Georgia School of Law.