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Introduction

Frogs won’t actually let themselves be boiled to death, no matter how gradually you raise the water temperature around them. Humans? We’ll see.

Long ago, experts started worrying about the potential consequences of man-made climate change. As the plant ecologist Charles F. Cooper wrote in Foreign Affairs in 1978, “The addition of carbon dioxide and particulate matter to the atmosphere through burning of fossil fuels and clearing of land has become a significant agent of climatic change that could measurably raise the temperature of the earth by the end of this century.”

Over time, as theory transformed itself into reality, scientific consensus grew, worries increased, and calls rose for a response. Stated abstractly, the challenge doesn’t seem insurmountable: find a way to achieve growth and development without destroying the planet. But in practice, little has been done to put the world on a sustainable course because of the

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