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Climate Change Policy: Preliminary Observations on Options for Distributing Emissions Allowances and Revenue under a Cap-and-Trade Program
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    According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—a United Nations organization that assesses scientific, technical, and economic information on the effects of climate change—global atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased markedly as a result of human activities over the past 200 years. These gases trap heat that would otherwise escape the earth's atmosphere, contributing to climate change. Climate change is a long-term and global issue because greenhouse gases disperse widely in the atmosphere once emitted and can remain there for an extended period of time. Among other potential impacts, climate change could threaten coastal areas with rising sea levels, alter agricultural productivity, and increase the intensity and frequency of floods and tropical storms. Carbon dioxide is emitted in by far the largest volume of any greenhouse gas, and most emissions are caused by fossil fuel combustion. According to the EPA, carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion accounted for approximately 80 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in 2007.
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