Global climate change responsiveness in the USA: An Estimation of Population Coverage and Implications for Environmental Accountants

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


External organisations

  • School of Management, University of St Andrews


The primary responsibility for global climate change responsiveness is usually attributed to nation states. This is reflected in the United Nations’ processes aimed at enrolling governments in mitigation and adaptation programmes. Such an approach begs the question of how global climate change (GCC) responsiveness might proceed if a national government is hostile to the issue, as appears likely to be the case in the USA. This paper addresses this concern by documenting the percentage of the population of the USA who are ‘covered’ by at least one of six examples of GCC responsiveness at sub-federal – state and municipality – levels. Of the population of the USA, 25.8% lives in states where all of the state-level initiatives surveyed are in effect, whereas only 4.4% are not covered by any of the six. This coverage has increased as compared to earlier surveys (Lutsey, N., and D. Sperling. 2008. “America’s Bottom-Up Climate Change Mitigation Policy.” Energy Policy 36: 673–685. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2007.10.018). This finding suggests that there is more practical hope for GCC responsiveness than might be commonly appreciated and this also has ramifications for research in accounting.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-143
Number of pages7
JournalSocial and Environmental Accountability Journal
Issue number2
Early online date24 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2017


  • Global climate change, United States of America, Population estimates, Environmental accounting