As developed countries and large historical and current contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, the United States and Canada both bear considerable responsibility to take strong action to mitigate climate change. National mitigation policies in both countries, however, fall far short of this. This chapter describes and evaluates national climate change mitigation policies in the United States and Canada with a view to explain what political, structural, legal, and economic factors cause them to take such different forms in the two neighbours. The chapter concludes that in both countries national mitigation policies are generally haphazard, fractious, and insufficient to satisfy their global responsibilities, and that robust policy action has been stymied over the past three decades in large measure because of political concerns about the economic costs of adopting mitigation measures and the outsized influence of fossil fuel interests. However, distinct legal, political, and economic dynamics in the United States and Canada frustrate the development of effective national climate change mitigation policies for quite different reasons, meaning that one should expect their respective policy solutions to continue to be idiosyncratic into the future even in moments of ideological alignment between their governments.
Leach, Michael & Katrina Kuh, ‘Climate Change Mitigation Law and Policy in the United States and Canada,’ (2021) in Jonathan Verschuuren & Leonie Reins (eds) Research Handbook on Climate Change Mitigation Law (2nd ed.) (Edward Eldgar, in press)