"The 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change requires that signatories, including the United States, establish policies for constraining future emission levels of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2). The George H. W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush Administrations each drafted action plans in response to requirements of the convention. These plans have raised significant controversy and debate. This debate intensified following the 1997 Kyoto Agreement, which, had it been ratified by the United States, would have committed the United States to reduce greenhouse gases by 7% over a five-year period (2008-2012) from specified baseline years. Controversy is inherent, in part, because of uncertainties about the likelihood and magnitude of possible future climate change, the consequences for human wellbeing, and the costs and benefits of minimizing or adapting to possible climate change. Controversy also is driven by differences in how competing policy communities view the assumptions underlying approaches to this complex issue. […] An 'ecological lens' views environmental problems as the result of indifference to or disregard for the planet's ecosystem on which all life depends. The solutions to the problems lie in developing an understanding of and a respect for that ecosystem, and providing people with mechanisms to express that understanding in their daily choices. The implied governmental role would be to support ecologically based education and values, as well as to promote 'green' products and processes, for example through procurement policies and labeling requirements. Some initiatives are underway; all the perspectives are relevant in evaluating them and possible further policies. The purpose here is not to suggest that one lens is 'better' than another, but rather to articulate the implications of the differing perspectives in order to clarify terms of debate among diverse policy communities."
CRS Report for Congress, 98-738