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For the new century, the greenhouse effect and the changing climate that accompanies it are often seen as a challenge at least on a par with that of wars for the twentieth century. Luckily, things have not reached this stage, though this does not mean that the subject is not of crucial importance. Alas, echoes in the media and the most in vogue opinions tend to take too little account of scientific knowledge and to forget its grey areas. The author thus seeks to add a touch of rationality to the debate, examining the ins and outs of the greenhouse effect not only from the climatic point of view as such, but also in economic terms – especially since this is undoubtedly an economic problem par excellence. It is also a long-term problem that will take many conferences, agreements and treatises, not to mention a multiplicity of different amendments, to solve – in the course of the new century and, most likely, in the one that follows, too.