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New Digital National Security Archive Document Collection Covers Climate Change Diplomacy from 1981-2015

May 25, 2022

The National Security Archive, along with our scholarly partners at ProQuest, is publishing a rich new set of documents on United States climate change diplomacy from the Reagan years through the Obama administration. Edited by Dr. Robert A. Wampler, the 2,440 document collection, U.S. Climate Change Diplomacy: From the Montreal Protocol to the Paris Agreement, 1981-2015, provides researchers an unparalleled compilation of primary-source material on an essential subject. 

The new document set, unrivaled in scope, illuminates how each administration approached the looming threat of climate change, framed its goals for a series of major international negotiations, and navigated the complex interplay of diplomacy and domestic policy over almost a 35-year period. The largest tranche of documents are from the Clinton White House, offering an invaluable view of early policy goals for climate change negotiations during this period, including participation in the U.N. talks to draft a new climate treaty, evaluations of the COP meetings, bilateral consultations with other governments and assessments of their positions in the talks, and an unparalleled window into the Clinton White House Climate Change Task Force. The collection also covers: 

– U.S. diplomacy surrounding the Montreal Protocol and negotiations on a climate change treaty. 

– Meetings and records for the International Negotiating Committee for the UNFCCC (1990-1995), Berlin Mandate, and COP meetings leading to the Kyoto Protocol and Paris climate change treaty. 

– How different administrations sought to decide upon and implement greenhouse gas emissions cuts. 

– Perspectives of key U.S. agencies, including the Treasury and Energy Departments, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency. 

– Key United Nations records on the negotiations leading to the Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol. 

– The role of the U.N. in diplomacy that targets non-security issues. 

– The climate change politics of Europe, Asia, and Latin America. 

This is the first climate change collection to be published by the National Security Archive. The documents were primarily obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the Archive’s environmental diplomacy project over the course of decades and submitted to the State Department, the Energy Department, the Treasury Department, the Defense Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency. The groundbreaking collection serves as an essential resource for researchers interested in the role of the U.S. in international environmental politics, U.S. post-war diplomatic history, U.S. foreign policy, international relations, and environmental policy. 

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