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Video Brief: Climate Change

Speaker: Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations
February 22, 2012

The winner of the U.S. presidential election will face at least three sets of climate challenges including reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, facing international pressure, and developing climate-friendly technology, says CFR's Michael Levi.

The U.S. president will have to reduce emissions "in a way that is economically acceptable and socially acceptable within the United States," Levi says. "The longer the United States waits, the more expensive it will ultimately be to reduce emissions," he cautions.

"Regardless though of what the United States does at home, it is likely to be inadequate internationally," Levi argues. The president will likely face multilateral and bilateral pressure, including potential trade barriers to U.S. goods that are viewed as having been produced with "dirtier and therefore cheaper energy," he predicts.

The United States must also be prepared for a potential "clean energy race" to invent new clean technologies and capture the markets for these technologies, Levi says. The concern is that countries will implement government policies to support domestic industries, which will in turn result in trade disputes, he explains.

This video is part of Campaign 2012, a series of video briefings on the top foreign policy issues debated in the run-up to the 2012 elections.


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