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Even though Congress is unlikely to adopt “cap and trade” or other approaches to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases for the foreseeable future, the Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to curtail emissions through new regulation, and the result could be substantial for communities, the environment and the economy. So, what is the fuss all about? What exactly is the carbon cycle? What is meant by such terms as “carbon dioxide equivalence”, “carbon neutrality”, “fossil carbon,” and “substitution effect”? And, to what are people referring when using the term “carbon debt”? This report starts from square one of the carbon cycle to explain this and other aspects of the carbon debate and what it all means.

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