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Climate Change: Debating America's Policy Options

A Council Policy Initiative

Author: David G. Victor, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Science and Technology

Climate Change: Debating America's Policy Options - climate-change-debating-americas-policy-options
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Publisher Council on Foreign Relations Press

Release Date June 2004

Price $15.00 paper

200 pages
ISBN 0876093438

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Contents

Foreword v

Acknowledgments ix

List of Acronyms xi

Memorandum to the President 1

Speech One: Adaptation and Innovation 76

Speech Two: Reinvigorating Kyoto 89

Speech Three: Making a Market 103

Appendixes 115

CPI Advisory Committee 165

Overview

Climate change is one of the most complex issues facing policy-makers today. David G. Victor, a leading expert on environmental policy, takes a fresh look at this issue and persuasively marshals arguments for three distinct approaches to combat the problem, casting each as a presidential speech. A must-read for environmentalists, educators, and anyone else interested in the issue, Climate Change is a most useful reference in the growing public debate about how best to meet this environmental challenge.

Controlling the emissions that cause global warming will require societies to incur costs now, while uncertain benefits accrue in the distant future. These conditions make it hard to create successful policy, yet the longer policy shifts are put off, the more greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere. Even as a consensus grows that something must be done, there is no agreement on the best course of action. Climate Change begins with a memorandum to the president that explains the multidimensional nature of this critical issue. It then lays out three contrasting perspectives for dealing with climate change and concludes with an index of scientific reports, government speeches, legislative proposals, and further readings. Of the three speeches presented, the first emphasizes the ability of modern, wealthy societies to adapt to the changing climate. A second speech urges reengagement with the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change while demanding reforms to make Kyoto more effective. A third urges unilateral action to create a market for low-carbon emission technologies from the “bottom up,” in contrast with “top-down” international treaties such as Kyoto.

 

More About This Publication

"David Victor's hypothetical presidential speeches contain a wealth of new ideas and insights that readers of all persuasions on this critical topic should find stimulating and useful."
— Professor M. Granger Morgan, Carnegie Mellon University

"David Victor has so artfully and persuasuvely laid out the arguments for three alternative policies toward climate change, that I found myself tempted by the logic of each! In making the best case for diametrically opposing views, he has produced an uncommonly effective teaching instrument. The format of laying out the science, and then presenting three Presidential speeches, is brilliant and highly instructive."
— William K. Reilly, President and CEO of Aqua International Partners

"David Victor's Climate Change: America's Policy Options draws from the author's extensive background in the technology, economics and politics of climate change to outline and analyze policy options in terms that will be useful to policy makers and observers alike. The key problems - scientific and economic uncertainties, emission growth in developing countries, political issues inside and outside the U.S. - are described clearly and the options described span the range of feasibility. The book should be required reading for anyone participating in the debate."
— Professor Michael May, Stanford University

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