Making EPA Great Again? A Study of how the Politicization of Climate Change Affected the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Obama and Trump administrations

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: The politicization of scientific facts, such as climate change, is a highly debated phenomenon in the US. It is well established that climate change is both real, and human-caused. Still, significant parts of the American political community refuse to adhere to this scientific fact. During the Trump administration this resulted in the American Environmental Protection Agency becoming the focal point of this schism between the scientific community, and parts of the political community. To study in which way the agency was affected by the politicization of climate change, the Obama and Trump administrations were compared through a Single-N study with a longitudinal design. The results show that the administrations often adhered to their political narrative in their proposed budgets, but that congress often forced both administrations towards a more neutral compromise, in order to receive bipartisan support. The conclusion is that although the actualized budgets changed marginally during both administrations, the politicization of the agency happened through the day-to-day administrative actions and the political narratives pushed through rhetoric, and that this likely resulted in an inefficient agency, with probable issues concerning the working environment.

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