The election of Bill Clinton in November 1992 offered some encouragement to proponents of more aggressive action to tackle climate change. President Clinton’s appointment of several prominent environmentalists to important positions within the administration, and his earlier selection of Senator Al Gore as his running mate, appeared to signal a commitment to dealing with climate change in a more sympathetic way than his predecessor. These hopes of a new approach to the issue proved to be misplaced in the short term. Concerns about the economy, and the early defeat of a proposal for a carbon tax, left the administration offering initiatives that differed little from those of the previous administration. A number of events conspired, however, to shake the administration’s approach to climate change out of this default mode. Widespread public hostility to Republican efforts to undermine environmental laws following their success in the midterm congressional elections of 1994 persuaded Clinton that championing the environment might be a vote winner in the 1996 presidential elections; publication of the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report in 1996 provided further evidence about the causes and consequences of climate change; and other countries placed considerable pressure on the United States to take action to curb greenhouse gas emissions. In a major departure from existing policy, the administration announced in 1996 that it would accept binding targets for emission targets and approved the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. Further action proved impossible as the administration faced vehement opposition to the Protocol from Congress and powerful industrial groups, and could not persuade other countries to make the compromises necessary to overcome domestic challenges to the idea of emission limits.