When environmental issues emerged on the international agenda in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the United States was of one of the strongest and most consistent supporters of international environmental treaties and agreements. The member states of the European Union subsequently ratified all the international treaties created in this period, but U.S. leadership was crucial and European states were laggards in many cases. Since the 1990s, the political dynamics of international environmental policy have shifted, with the European Union emerging as a global environmental leader and the United States repeatedly opposing multilateral environmental agreements. The authors argue that a " regulatory politics " model that synthesizes the effects of domestic politics and international regulatory competition provides the most powerful explanation of why the United States and European Union have " traded places " with respect to their support for international environmental agreements.
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