|Abstract or Summary
- Climate change policies present multiple quandaries to the field of public policy and science
studies. Despite the prevalent scientific consensus, approaches demonstrate great heterogeneity. With one side advocating for the facticity of climate change and a pro-active stance, while the other argues about negative economic trade-offs, viewpoints diverge. Between controversy and risk, and consensus and trust, deliberations on how to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change remain polarized. This essay compares the politics and divergent styles of climate change policymaking adopted in the EU and US. It hypothesizes whether the EU’s technocratic system of governance, when compared to the US populist system, is more conducive to evidence-based scientific climate policies. Followed by an analysis of the drivers and deterrents of policy that set apart the approaches of each polity, it is concluded that notwithstanding the prominent scientific dimension of climate change, as a policy problem, climate is also an inescapably political matter. Rather than deeming one polity as inherently more likely to base policies on scientific evidence, it is concluded that both controversy and consensus are co-produced by a combination of the following: propitious institutional conditions, a degree of political backing, and the ability which policymakers have of fomenting trust by reducing policy options and agreeing on a common core of measures. In the specific case of climate change, the EU’s democratic deficit acts as a conduit promoting the calibration of inter-institutional and supranational alignments. Conversely, the US populist ethos foments controversy and a fight about the meaning and implications of climate change.