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According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the first half of 2010 was the warmest January to July on record. At this point, to be skeptical of the overwhelming evidence of climate change is to “replace a faith in science with a belief in science fiction.” With the wounds of the Copenhagen climate summit still open, what should we expect as the world goes back to the negotiating table in Cancún at the end of this month? If the continued lack of leadership from the US is any indication, probably not much. And the recent Republican takeover in the House doesn’t inspire much optimism, either. When asked about his party’s plans to address climate change last year, incoming House Speaker, John Boehner told ABC: “The idea that carbon dioxide is acarcinogen, that it is harmful to our environment, is almost comical.”
It’s enough to make a person feel pretty hopeless. So what can be done? One of the first steps is to really understand the history, politics and policies behind climate change. This week on Sea Change Radio, we take an in-depth look at the key climate change proposals that have emerged from the past two decades of talks – cap and trade, and the carbon tax. First Eric Pooley, the author of The Climate War, lays out the players and the policies for us. Then, we speak to Peter Umhofer, former advisor on energy and environmental issues to Senators Harry Reid and Tom Daschle, who gives an overview of the history of climate change policy in the US.