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Industrial smokestacks in Philiadelphia, PA
American industry and political
lobbying groups have historically
fought against changes to US
environmental policy.  

Virtually all the governments of the world recognize the need for environmental sustainability, and are taking action to limit their impact on the environment.

However, many governments are taking very different pathways towards that common goal, depending largely on how big an influence business and industry plays in shaping government policy.

The weakest link?

At present, North America is widely regarded as one of the worst climate change offenders. Not only does the USA contribute a disproportionately large amount of pollution to the atmosphere, it is also one of the countries doing the least to reduce its contribution to global warming - as big oil and other lobbying groups increasingly lay claim to Washington.

There are individual US states, however, which have taken matters in to their own hands and are working hard to reduce environmental impact, even without help from the federal government.

Canada is another country that many believe is not doing enough to reduce environmental damage. Canada originally signed on and ratified the Kyoto Protocol, but has since joined the alternative international agreement authored by the United States.

Both countries, meanwhile, have suffered a great deal of criticism for not having any mandatory reduction targets and for taking part in more of a PR campaign than a serious effort to promote environmental sustainability.

Like in the United States, several Canadian provinces have taken it upon themselves to set ambitious environmental goals, rather than wait for the federal government to act.

Governments at work

In stark contrast, the EU and virtually all European countries are working hard to reduce their environmental impact. Many are on target to achieve their respective Kyoto goals, and throughout Europe, forward thinking technologies and strategies are being implemented to promote environmental sustainability. Britain is particularly notable because a new government policy that will, if passed, put Britain on course to reduce carbon emissions by 60% before 2050 from 1990 levels.

Australia, too, is only just starting to become a more green government. Much like Canada and the United States though, some Australian states have taken the initiative and gone ahead with various strategies to reduce their environmental impact above and beyond what has been implemented by national policy.

More information on environmental policy & government around the Web:

Environmental Law - Government Resources
- A major portal to information and opinion on environmental politics in the US and worldwide including law enforcement, related organizations, educational resources, and more about actions individuals can take to influence policy.

Environmental Issues- A guide with current and archived news sources covering political debate, legislation and environmental policy in the US.

Canadian Environmental Policy Links - Comprehensive directory of resources and information at the national and state level, including non-profit grass roots environmental organizations.


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