Public Administration ‒ The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Public Administration ‒ The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

US Policy on Climate Change

Climate change is one of the main topics that most countries and organizations are dealing with today. This led to countries across the globe signing the Paris Agreement in which they agreed that each nation should have to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that they have been releasing to the atmosphere (Obergassel et al., 2015). The USA was a signatory of the accord under President Obama, but things have changed under the leadership of President Trump who is seen to be determined in reversing everything that President Obama did on climate change. More than 100 countries agreed to reduce their carbon emissions into the atmosphere (Donald, 2017). This emanates from the recent issues that pertain to countries living in ocean areas having the risk of being submerged due to rising water levels.

Public Policy

The policy on climate change and environmental conservation took by the current administration have led to the country moving back to the past regarding curbing climate change. Scientists have in the recent past developed a connection between climate change and the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere (Obergassel et al., 2015). Instead of promoting the use of greener sources of energy as well as renewable sources, the government has encouraged people to continue using coal that has been found to be the largest contributor to greenhouse emissions. The act of withdrawing the USA from the Paris Agreement shows the lack of commitment on the side of the government when it comes to following the guidelines set by the agreement (Dimitrov, 2016). Therefore, the US would not abide by the demands of reducing their GHG emissions in future. In particular, the EPA has not been at the forefront in enhancing the movement of the country towards renewable sources of energy across the globe.

Policy Modifications

Various modifications can be made to the policy to make sure that it has a positive impact. One of these modifications is to make sure that the government encourages people to use more renewable sources of energy despite its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. This will take the country forward as the rest of the world moves towards greener and renewable sources (Obergassel et al., 2015). One of the areas that will be positively affected is the innovation area, as the country will be making strides towards sustainability of the energy sector. The other major modification made on the policy is having the USA renegotiate its stand on the Paris Agreement (Dimitrov, 2016). One of the reasons the government cited for the withdrawal was that the agreement was harsh on the USA and its businesses. Therefore, the country can still air some of its differences with the other nations and reach an agreement that is favorable for all parties (Donald, 2017). This move will ensure that the USA remains in partnership with the other nations across the globe and will contribute its expertise and financial power in making sure that the challenges of climate change have effectively been mitigated (Dimitrov, 2016). It is evident that the public was divided on the country’s decision to pull out of the agreement.

However, some negative modifications can be undertaken by the government and in the end lead to the country having issues and destroying its reputation (Donald, 2017). One of the modifications is the country continuing with the process of using coal and fossil fuels. Other countries will isolate the US if it ignores the need to take part in adopting strategies to address climate change issues (Obergassel et al., 2015). This isolation may mean that the country will not have the support of its traditional allies who have by been supportive of the US in most of its foreign policies across the globe. The Paris Agreement helped in bringing the countries together to deal with the problem of climate change and ensure that the actions will not harm future generations that the countries take today.

The other negative modification that may occur in the policy is the country continuously reducing its funding to the EPA for the sake of dealing with issues about climate change (Pindyck, 2013). The EPA plays a major role in making sure that the country effectively deals with issues about environmental conservation. Funding to this department is essential in that it provides the public with information on environmental conservation and climate change contribution that the USA makes.

The Constitution

The constitution of the USA allows Congress to pass laws that dictate not only the actions of the citizens but also the Federal Government. However, it is clear that the president has powers to develop policies in regards to foreign treaties and foreign relations. This is why the President of the United States withdrew the country from the Paris Agreement on climate change. However, the Congress should place such matters under review. The constitution should be changed to give Congress the power to check the executive’s policies and treaties in the country (Obergassel et al., 2015). Scientists have argued that the move by the USA is one that does not do any good to a country that is among the highest producers of GHG emissions. Giving the Congress the chance to look at the roles of the government and the consequences of the treaties it enters into will be ideal in making sure that the government does not make decisions that might harm it in future.

Congress should pass a law that safeguards the powers of the President in passing executive orders but on the same time ensure that the orders are not in violation of the common interests of the American public (Pindyck, 2013). For example, such a move would have ensured that the government did not take the drastic measures it took towards pulling itself out of the agreement. Checking the president in regards to what he does in foreign policy is ideal for a country that has many enemies and requires allies across the globe. It would also safeguard the US’s position as the world leader and allow China to take control of the world affairs something that would harm the US economy to some extent (Mukanjari & Sterner, 2018).


Climate change is an important issue today than it was in the past as studies show a connection between climate change and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It is important for the USA to handle its issues in the right manner due to the impact that it might have on the rest of the world. The US is looked and followed by many countries across the globe. This means that whatever it does is emulated by many countries and withdrawal from the Paris Agreement may lead to other countries following suit. The Congress can make changes by putting checks on the executive and ensuring that measures are taken to move the country towards collaboration with the other nations across the globe.


Dimitrov, R. S. (2016). The Paris agreement on climate change: Behind closed doors. Global Environmental Politics16(3), 1-11.

Donald, P. (2017). Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement hurts the US. NATURE2(17145), 17145.

Mukanjari, S., & Sterner, T. (2018). Do Markets Trump Politics? Evidence from Fossil Market Reactions to the Paris Agreement and the US Election.

Obergassel, W., Arens, C., Hermwille, L., Kreibich, N., Mersmann, F., Ott, H. E., & Wang-Helmreich, H. (2015). Phoenix from the ashes: an analysis of the Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; part 1.

Pindyck, R. S. (2013). Climate change policy: What do the models tell us? Journal of Economic Literature51(3), 860-72.