Setting a new course on climate change.

Author:Hagel, Chuck

GLOBAL CLIMATE POLICY affects the world's economic, energy, "and environmental policies. Climate change does not recognize borders. It is a shared responsibility for all nations. Global climate policy requires a level of diplomatic intensity and coordination worthy of the magnitude of the challenge.

The scientific community is not uniform in its assessments of the causes or solutions for dealing with this situation. There is no doubt that human society is having an impact on the environment. There have been numerous studies looking at how man's actions may be affecting the climate. That impact is subject to different interpretations, but human society has contributed to pollution and, evidence suggests, a global warming trend. We also know that these trends have occurred in cycles throughout the Earth's history.

There always will be uncertainties and incomplete information in any climate policy, but that should not inhibit our commitment to developing policies based on sound science. The climate change debate is not about who is for or against the environment. No one wants dirty air or water, prolonged drought, or declining standards of living for their children and grandchildren. We all agree on the need for a clean environment and stable climate. The debate is about solutions. The question we face is not whether we should take action, but what type. Climate change initiatives should include commitments to research and development, technology, and a more efficient and productive use of energy and resources.

I have introduced comprehensive climate change legislation that authorizes new programs, policies, and incentives to address the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It focuses on the role of technology, private and public partnerships, and developing countries.

Any policy initiative must include clear metrics that recognize the links among energy, the economy, and the environment. It is a global issue. Too often these policies are considered in vacuums. Bringing in the private sector, as well as creating incentives for technological innovation, is critical to real progress.

I believe that greenhouse gas intensity, or the amount of carbon emitted relative to economic output, is the best measurement for dealing with climate change. It captures the links among energy efficiency, economic development, and the environment. My plan includes three pieces of legislation: Climate Change Technology Deployment in Developing Countries Act...

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