Green Giants?

From American and Comparative Environmental Policy

Green Giants?

Environmental Policies of the United States and the European Union

Edited by Norman J. Vig and Michael Gebert Faure





The United States in recent years has been abandoning its historical role as a leader in environmental regulation. At the same time, the European Union, spurred by political integration, has enacted many new environmental laws and assumed a leadership role in promoting global environmental sustainability. Green Giants?, one of the most detailed comparisons of the environmental policies of America and Europe yet undertaken, looks at current policy trends in the United States and the European Union—the two largest economic actors in the world—and the implications they have for future transatlantic and global cooperation. The contributors—leading European and American scholars and practitioners—examine similarities and differences in specific policy areas in order to assess whether United States and European Union policies are diverging, pursuing similar goals and methods, or undergoing a "hybridization" through joint learning and exchanges. They find that although European and American policies may parallel each other somewhat in domestic regulation, they are clearly diverging in the "third generation" of environmental concerns, which include such global problems as climate change, international trade, and sustainable development. In the final chapter the editors conclude that transatlantic dialogue and cooperation at the highest level are necessary if these two economic and political giants are to lead the international community toward a stable and secure ecological future.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262220682 414 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 1 illus.


$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262720441 414 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 1 illus.


Norman J. Vig

Norman J. Vig is Winifred and Atherton Bean Professor of Science, Technology, and Society, Emeritus, at Carleton College.

Michael Gebert Faure

Michael G. Faure is Professor of Comparative and International Environmental Law at Maastricht University and Academic Director of the Maastricht European Institute for Transnational Legal Research.


  • An innovative and important comparison of environmental policymaking that sheds much light on the policy differences of the U.S. and the E.U. and on how policymakers can more fruitfully learn from the experiences of others in designing more effective environmental policies. The book provides a very interesting look at how policies converge in some areas, diverge in others, and why those differences and similarities occur.

    Gary C. Bryner

    Department of Political Science, Brigham Young University

  • This book raises the intriguing question of whether the world's two richest economies—the United States and the European Union—are following increasingly divergent paths on environmental policy, and points to the need for a new transatlantic partnership in this vital area. Everyone concerned about America's faltering environmental leadership should read this book.

    The Honorable Timothy E. Wirth

    President, The United Nations Foundation

  • We cannot make progress on global environmental issues if we fail to understand the differences in approach between the United States and Europe. This volume not only sheds light on how we converge and diverge, but also offers us a little hope—that if we share information, analysis, and experience, a hybrid approach that draws on the best each side has to offer may emerge and provide a way forward.

    Eileen Claussen

    President, The Pew Center on Global Climate Change

  • At a time of severe strains in the transatlantic partnership, Vig and Faure's Green Giants? poses a vitally important question: Are U.S. and European approaches to environmental politics converging or diverging? The book's case studies are careful and methodical, covering a range of issue-areas from climate change to the regulation of genetically modified organisms, and the editors assess the prospects for either transatlantic conflict or joint leadership across these various issues.

    Mark A. Pollack

    Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison