Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2016

Document Type

Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in International Relations


Political Science & International Relations


Dr. Andrew Tirrell


Why do some states have policies that aggressively reduce carbon emissions, while others ignore the threat of climate change? In a world where increasingly extreme weather patterns threaten food production and species extinction, and where rising sea levels and frequent storms damage coastal infrastructure, it is now essential for states to mitigate these effects.

My paper analyzes the role of media attention on climate change and environmental association membership rates on the most recent climate change mitigation policies of South Africa, the United States, and Germany. It argues that media and environmental associations influence a population’s desire to reduce carbon emissions, and that these populations are more likely to ask for and see the implementation of climate change mitigation policy in their respective democracies. I also look at the quality and effectiveness of each case’s policy, given the emissions realities in each country.