U.S. Global Climate Change Policy: Evolving Views on Cost, Competitiveness, and Comprehensiveness [June 25, 2010]   [open pdf - 206KB]

"The nature of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (particularly carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions) makes their control difficult to integrate with the U.S economy and traditional U.S. energy policy. Despite the obvious interrelationship between energy policy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the United States has struggled to integrate the two. For a country that has traditionally used its relatively cheap supply of energy to substitute for more expensive labor and capital costs to compete internationally, this linkage is particularly strong, as witnessed by the nation's high GHG emissions per capita. In the face of this economic reality, along with continuing scientific uncertainty, debate over a greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction program can be categorized by three inter-related Cs: Cost, Competitiveness, and Comprehensiveness. [...] Fundamental policy assumptions regarding each of the three Cs have changed between the U.S. ratification of the 1992 UNFCCC [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] and key events of the first decade of the 21st century--the George W. Bush Administration's 2001 decision to abandon the Kyoto Protocol process and the 2009 negotiations at Copenhagen. [...] The Copenhagen Agreement tried to preserve the twin goals of economic development and emissions reductions by allowing each nation to determine the costs it would accept; and also by establishing a mechanism by which the developed nations would provide funds for greenhouse gas reduction actions by developing nations. What remains to be seen is whether any voluntary program can successfully reduce emissions sufficiently to meet the UNFCCC goal of holding the increase in global temperatures to 2 degrees C."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL30024
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/
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