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April 21, 2018  |  Login
ecomii guides guide to global warming
In partnership with:  Union of Concerned Scientists

What's being done about global warming?

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After you’ve made some changes in your everyday life, there are other things you can do to influence others. For one, you can tell your friends about how much money you are saving with all your energy-efficient changes and get them on board. But then, you can move onto the big guns and influence business and government.

Sounds unlikely? It’s not. Remember the power of the pen? Add to that the power of your wallet, and you have some real clout. Make a statement by buying from businesses that try to use climate-friendly technologies and/or stock climate-friendly products. History has shown that companies will listen to consumer demands.

And your elected leaders have to listen to you, too, so get out your pen and let them know you support actions to reduce global warming. Urge your representatives in Congress and state legislatures to support actions that save energy, reduce carbon pollution, and expand renewable energy. The Union for Concerned Scientists offers a comprehensive Action Center to help you communicate directly with your elected officials.


The international community, the United States, individual U.S. states, and even municipalities are debating and developing a range of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy independence, and encourage the use of clean and renewable energy sources. There are many solutions out there that use the market to encourage energy efficiency. You’ve probably heard the most about one approach in particular: cap-and-trade programs.

Cap and Trade

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists:

“Under a cap-and-trade program, the federal government would establish an economy-wide cap on emissions, measured in metric tons of CO2 equivalent, and tighten that cap over time. It then would issue 'emissions allowances' that correspond to a specific number of metric tons of carbon. The total number of allowances would match the cap.

"The program would require electric utilities, refineries, and other sources of global warming pollution to have an allowance for each ton of their emissions. Polluters would acquire allowances during the initial distribution or by trading for them in an 'allowance market.' This market would enable polluters that are able to reduce their emissions relatively cheaply to sell allowances to those that are unable to do so, thereby establishing a market price for carbon. The program would create an incentive for polluting facilities to implement the most cost-effective emissions reduction options and, by putting a price on global warming pollution, encourage investments in new low-carbon technologies.”1

You can learn more about how cap-and-trade programs work here.

To help you get up to speed and involved, here is a brief summary of action at different levels of government.

1. more

1 Union of Concerned Scientists [22 October 2007]. Excerpted from: [5 December 2007]

2The Union of Concerned Scientists [2 March 2006]. Available from: [3 December 2007]

3 Union of Concerned Scientists [3 December 2007]. Excerpted from: [4 December 2007]

4 Pew Center on Global Climate Change [undated]. Available from: [1 December 2007]

5 Union of Concerned Scientists [1 September 2006]. Available from: [3 December 2007]

6 Pew Center on Global Climate Change [undated]. Available from: [1 December 2007]

7 Pew Center on Global Climate Change [November 2007]. Available from: [1 December 2007]

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