Global warming, let's take this decade to prepare

by Robert J. Lempert, James K. Hammitt

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A key challenge facing climate change policy-makers is to balance the extensive uncertainty about the dangers of climate change--which suggests postponing costly action until more is known--against the risk that delay may constrain future options. The current policy debate asks whether or not developed nations should commit to specific targets and timetables to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. The authors argue that instead the most important near-term policy responses to the potential threat of climate change are research and development for emission-reducing technologies, institutional reforms, and technical aid to developing countries, all designed to facilitate large future worldwide reductions of greenhouse gas emissions if such reductions prove necessary.

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