Climate change is one of the most complex issues facing policy-makers today. 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 difficult to create succesful policy, yet the longer we wait 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.
This book takes a fresh look at the issue. It offers three contrasting perspectives, each cast as a presidential speech. One emphasizes the ability of modern, wealthy societies to adapt to the changing climate. A second speech urges reengagement with the Kyoto Protocol while demanding reforms that would make Kyoto more effective. A third speech urges unilateral action that would create a market for low-carbon emission technologies from the "bottom up," in contrast with top-down international treaties such as Kyoto.
A memorandum to the president explains the multidimensional nature of this critical issue and an extensive appendix includes scientific reports, government speeches, legislative proposals, and further readings.