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When Scientific Palmers Make Policy: The Impact and Future of Cap-and-Trade in the United States | Author: Sophia Hamilton

When Scientific Palmers Make Policy: The Impact and Future of Cap-and-Trade in the United States | Author: Sophia Hamilton

The political debate over climate change has over the past several years grown from a murmur to a raging cacophony in the United States, and it now appears to be simmering just below the surface. This debate has centered on the existence and cause of climate change, a term that has become nearly synonymous with the term “global warming” in American politics, and on the manner in which this change can be stopped if it is in fact happening and stoppable. Amidst a sea of information and misinformation, politicians have devised several policy approaches aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Prominent among these approaches is a plan to create a cap-and-trade system to control carbon emissions in the United States, a method that can boast of many high profile and powerful political and scientific proponents.

The debate as to whether climate change is a natural or a man-made occurrence is complex and is the hotly contested subject matter of many books and treatises, and this debate is beyond the scope of this article. Here it is worthwhile to note, however, that it is vitally important that the people of the U.S. and its political leaders honestly and accurately seek to ascertain the impact and ultimate effectiveness of the current vogue climate change policy approaches as well as the accuracy of the ideas and science espoused by its proponents, for this information is critical. Though the author agrees that reducing pollution is vitally important to the health of the Earth and its inhabitants, it is not enough to say that the current warming of the Earth could be manmade, and, thus, it must be changed by immediately taking drastic steps to reduce carbon emissions or the result may be a great catastrophe, perhaps even the end of the world. Any number of disastrous things could happen to this planet; the critical question is what is most likely to happen, “what the temperature development will be in the future.” Author Bjorn Lomborg writes that “[g]etting the state of the world right is important because it defines humanity’s problems and shows us where our actions are most needed.” This is as far as this article will delve into the issue of whether or not climate change is man-made. Here it is sufficient to say that the way in which the U.S. answers this question will determine where our nation expends its limited resources and whether we have the means to address some of our nation’s and humanity’s most pressing needs.

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