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When it comes to perhaps the largest and most complex policy challenge facing the Obama administration—finally slowing the pace of global warming before dangerous changes become unstoppable—the new president stares down a Dickensian paradox. On the one hand, it’s the best of times for dealing with the issue. The Democratic-controlled Congress is itching for action, with environmentalist Californians Senator Barbara Boxer and Representative Henry Waxman at the head of key committees. And the problem has risen so much in visibility that many fossil-fuel companies have come to consider the capping of their greenhouse gas emissions a virtual inevitability. They have joined together in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership—a group featuring General Electric, DuPont, General Motors and many other major corporations—which has called for “cap and trade” legislation that would limit and then slowly ratchet down emissions.
This article was originally published with the title Winning the Carbon Game.