Neoliberalism and Climate Policy in the United States: From market fetishism to the developmental state, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Neoliberalism and Climate Policy in the United States

From market fetishism to the developmental state, 1st Edition

By Robert MacNeil


182 pages

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Hardback: 9781138689282
pub: 2017-06-29
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pub: 2017-07-06
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This book explores how Washington’s efforts to act on climate change have been translated under conditions of American neoliberalism, where the state struggles to find a stable and legitimate role in the economy, and where environmental and industrial policy are enormously contentious topics.

This original work conceptualizes US climate policy first and foremost as a question of innovation policy, with capital accumulation and market domination as its main drivers. It argues that US climate policy must be understood in the context of Washington’s broader efforts over the past four decades to dominate and monopolize novel high-tech markets, and its use of immense amounts of state power to achieve this end. From this perspective, many elements of US climate politics that seem confusing or contradictory actually appear to have an obvious and consistent logic.

This book will be of particular interest to students and scholars of IPE, as well as individuals generally interested in gaining a stronger understanding of US climate politics and policy, and the role and influence of neoliberalism on contemporary economic governance.


‘MacNeil’s analysis brings debates within ‘Varieties of Capitalism’ accounts of comparative political economy into conversation with debates about neoliberalism as a driving force in climate change politics. As such, this work makes highly important contributions both to analyses of US and comparative environmental politics and to comparative political economy.’- Matthew Paterson, University of Manchester, UK

'The book makes a persuasive case for understanding Washington as a developmental state, and by showing how its structures facilitate, at least in part, the emergence of a green economy, it cogently makes the case that neoliberalism is much more complicated than usually understood. The process whereby neoliberalism and the regulatory impulses of environmentalism collide is clearly spelled out in a way that adds nuance to the discussion and puts the American climate change debate into appropriate political context.'- Simon Dalby, University of Waterloo, Canada

Table of Contents

Part I Introduction

1 US climate policy, neoliberalism & the developmental state

2 Conceptualizing neoliberal climate policy in the US

Part II The developmental state vs. the deregulatory state

3 The American developmental state: from confederation to


4 Neoliberalism and environmental regulation


Part III The nature and function of US climate policy

5 Pull policies: Alternative routes to climate regulation

6 Push policies: The developmental state and clean energy


Part IV Assessing neoliberal climate policy in the US

7 The functionality and sustainability of current US

climate policy

8 The future of neoliberal climate policy in the US

9 Concluding reflections

Afterword: President Trump’s Climate Policy

About the Author

Robert MacNeil is Lecturer in Environmental Politics in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney.

About the Series

RIPE Series in Global Political Economy

For almost two decades now, the RIPE Series published by Routledge has been an essential forum for cutting-edge scholarship in International Political Economy. The series brings together new and established scholars working in critical, cultural and constructivist political economy. Books in the RIPE Series typically combine an innovative contribution to theoretical debates with rigorous empirical analysis.

The RIPE Series seeks to cultivate:

  • Field-defining theoretical advances in International Political Economy
  • Novel treatments of key issue areas, both historical and contemporary, such as global finance, trade, and production
  • Analyses that explore the political economic dimensions of relatively neglected topics, such as the environment, gender relations, and migration
  • Accessible work that will inspire advanced undergraduates and graduate students in International Political Economy.

James Brassett – Warwick

Eleni Tsingou – Copenhagen Business School

Susanne Soederberg – Queen’s

Learn more…

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