Sunday, June 8, 2008

More on US Climate Change Policy

The cap and trade bill in the US Senate died on Friday, so it is back to the drawing board for US carbon pricing measures.

One heartening feature of the US climate change policy debate though is that outright denial of global climate warming is losing its grip on conservatives (when 8 of the 10 warmest years on the instrumental record have been in the last decade it's hard to see how one maintains this position but there you go.) A recent Kiwiblog poll suggests this has yet to occur in New Zealand.

As a result, some conservative debate is moving on to responses. Reihan Salam (here and here) nevertheless argues that the best thing to do is provide money for research and hope for a technical fix. I am not optimistic about this strategy. Ryan Avent responds here and here, putting the case for carbon pricing.

Monica Prasad wrote an excellent NYT editorial arguing for carbon taxing without spending. She makes the point that Denmark had great success reducing carbon emissions with a carefully designed carbon tax.

On the other hand this qualified defense of defense of cap and trade is worth considering.

The most enjoyable weekend read on this issue though was Charles Krauthammer's op-ed on oil prices. He's a keen cheerleader for the neo-cons, a dead ender supporter of the war in Iraq, an unabashed supporter of torture, and he doesn't believe in climate change. Nevertheless he thinks the US should be taxing the hell out of petrol! The geopolitical argument he makes for a US carbon tax is very strong. He is also correct that high petrol prices are finally changing the habits of US consumers.

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