Climate Change: Current Issues and Policy Tools [March 6, 2009]   [open pdf - 532KB]

This CRS report discusses climate change. "On June 2, 2008, the Senate agreed to consider a bill (S. 3036) to control greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. In the 111th Congress, leadership in both chambers have announced their intentions to pass bills in 2009 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These actions are indicative of the pressures Members of Congress increasingly face on whether and how to address human-induced climate change. Contentious debates scrutinize issues of science, economics, values, geopolitics and a host of other concerns. Deliberations also weigh the appropriateness of alternative policy tools and program designs. [...]. For decision-makers considering actions to address climate change, an assortment of policy instruments is available; studies suggest that a combination could be most effective in achieving various climate policy objectives. Current policy attention has focused on 'cap and trade' strategies to reduce [green house gases (GHG)] emissions, with additional policy tools aimed at promoting the technology development considered necessary to slow climate change significantly. In parallel, growing attention is being given to supporting adaptations to expected future changes, as well as to strategies to gain effective international engagement in reducing GHG. [...]. Policy options can ease the adjustments required and modify the distribution of costs--or potential wealth embodied in distribution of emission allowances--across specific sectors or populations. A core challenge of policy design, then, is balancing the climate effectiveness of a policy, the economic costs, and its distributional effects."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL34513
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