Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Anthony Dell'Aera




change, climate, russia, current, issue


In order to truly understand a nation’s current political actions and attitudes concerning an issue, it is necessary to evaluate the nation’s history and any historical implications leading up to said issue. The issue of climate change is no exception. My thesis seeks to analyze the environmental histories of the United States and Russia/the Soviet Union in order to explain each country’s current stance on climate change, and how they have each dealt with and/or contributed to it. By researching this, I aim to answer the broader question of how two very different countries with varying histories, cultures, and political and economic systems can both affect and be affected by climate change. Although there are a number of differences in the way the United States and Russia perceive and deal with climate change, there are some notable similarities. The role of political ideology and consequently, the way the public views the government and non-governmental actors, impacts the climate change debate for both nations. NGOs were more influential in shaping climate change policy in America than Russia. The media was shown to have presented factually incorrect and one-sided information, at least to a degree, in both the U.S. and Russia. Perhaps the most significant similarity was that both nations have rallied around a symbol throughout history as well as in current times to bring about environmental action. Neither of these countries has reached its full potential in initiating climate change legislation. Nevertheless, with both the similarities and differences taken into account, it seems quite possible for the United States and Russia to work unilaterally as well as bilaterally to institute effective policies.