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Climate Change Discussions in Washington: A Matter of Contending Perspectives

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The scientific evidence and understanding underpinning societal responsibility for the accelerating pace of climate change has become increasingly strong over the past hundred years. Although many nations have begun to take actions that have the potential to eventually slow the pace of change, contention over the issue continues in the United States, particularly in the nation's capital. A major cause appears to arise from different interpretations of the evidence arising from different perspectives on the issue, including those of the scientific, environmental, fossil-fuel generating, technological, economic and ethical communities. In addition, the public encounters a cacophony of intermixed perspectives from the media and elected officials. While each perspective provides some useful insights, each alone contributes to inhibiting development of the national political consensus needed to responsibly address climate change. Without leadership that balances and reconciles competing perspectives, it is unlikely that a sufficient limiting of emissions will be enacted to prevent significant changes in climate that will impose increasing challenges for those in both developing and developed nations.
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Keywords: climate change; climate change policy; climate impacts; global warming; perspectives on climate change; uncertainties and climate change

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-08-01

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2016) of 1.279.
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