Politics of Climate Action Plans: A Critical Discourse Analysis
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Despite increased knowledge of the causes and consequences of climate change, federal politics has prevented a comprehensive, nationwide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This inaction at the federal level has prompted local governments to take the lead on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through Climate Action Plans (CAP). This thesis explores the environmental discourses that are at work in the CAP adoption process of three cities that historically vote for democratic candidates and republican candidates, respectively, in federal elections. As a qualitative study, my inquiry evaluates the CAP adoption process through an analysis of public officials' statements, public comments and editorials, and CAP content. John Dryzek's eight environmental discourses are applied to highlight the discourses that are reflected in the data obtained from public officials, the public, and policy outcomes. This examination reveals opportunities of bipartisan agreement and provides insights for governments to move past the politics of climate change.