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Buying a better climate

The US has a revolutionary proposal for dealing with global warming-tradeable pollution permits. It is backed by greens and economists alike. Michael Grubb wonders whether it will see the light of day

L ater this year, 150 governments led by the US could make an extraordinary breakthrough in the fiendishly complex international politics of global warming. Following the gloomy reports from the recent “earth summit 2” in New York, it will come as a surprise to many people that a dramatic shift could be imminent.

But this is to give readers a glimpse of the d?nouement before even meeting the characters. The chief character in this case is carbon dioxide (CO2), the biggest contributor to climate change induced by the greenhouse effect. CO2 is accompanied by a small family of other…

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