Climate Change

Debating America's Policy Options


More on:

Climate Change

United States


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.

Explore More on CFR


Russia's information warfare operations, aimed to weaken adversaries' social cohesion and political systems, are complex and adaptive, but Western governments can take steps to guard against them.



Saudi Arabia pressed Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign to try to weaken Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon. The path to resolving the crisis could run through Yemen.