Climate Policy

What Does the CBO Report on Waxman-Markey Actually Mean?

The Congressional Budget Office issued its report on the Waxman-Markey bill recently.  The Washington Times immediately trumpeted: “CBO puts hefty price tag on emissions plan: Obama’s cap-and-trade system seen costing $846 billion.” This is quite misleading. Actually, the CBO report tells us virtually nothing about the economic costs of the bill or how much consumers …

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Rebutting the Economic Attacks on Waxman-Markey

The first line of defense against climate regulation was that climate change didn’t exist. The next line of defense was that maybe it was real, but it wasn’t caused by humans. Now we’re up to the third line of defense: it does exist and it is caused by humans, but it’s too expensive to fix. …

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Declaring War Against Climate Change

The NY Times describes the current negotiations in Beijing as resembling an arms control contest, with demands for verifiable reductions (but in emissions rather than missiles).  The military comparison may be apt. Dealing with climate change is going to be like fighting a major war in a number of respects: *It will involve mobilizing for …

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Idle Chatter

WBUR’s Here and Now radio show recently covered the story of George Pakenham, the self-named “Verdant Vigilante.”  Pakenham roams the streets of New York City engaging in citizen enforcement of the city’s anti-idling law.  The law, which has been on the books in various forms since 1971, prohibits idling for greater than 3 minutes (1 …

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Climate Mitigation and U.S. Self-Interest

Jody Freeman and my colleague Andrew Guzman have posted an important paper, “Sea Walls are Not Enough.” The paper is particularly significant because Jody is now a senior White House advisor on climate policy.  The gist of the paper is this: We demonstrate that even if one accepts that the premises of the climate change …

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Van Jones to CEQ

Another potentially great Obama appointment today to CEQ — a White House entity that might as well stand for Climate and Energy Questions these days.  This from Greenwire: Author and activist Van Jones will serve as a special White House adviser for “green” jobs, enterprise and innovation. Jones, 40, will work within the Council on Environmental …

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Is Geoengineering Inevitable?

As I write, talk, teach and think about climate change seemingly non-stop these days, I frequently come back to the pessimistic conclusion that we cannot solve the climate problem through mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.  I have this pessimistic thought while believing wholeheartedly that we must enact aggressive policies to cut emissions dramatically. My pessimism stems …

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Are Law Professors Good Political Appointees?

I just got off the phone with a Bloomberg News reporter asking me about Harvard Law Professor Jody Freeman’s appointment as counselor to Carol Browner.  After singing Jody’s’ praises (of which there are a great many) he asked me a more general question that has me thinking.   Is it a good thing for Obama to …

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A republican moment on climate change? Maybe not yet

The environmental community has been understandably excited about the prospect of finally getting U.S. legislative action in light of the popularity of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, the development of a public consensus on the reality of global warming, the election of Barack Obama, and strong Democratic majorities in both House and Senate.  That optimism, …

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The perfect political storm

Co-blogger Dan Farber points to a story in Tuesday’s NY Times about a new study by NOAA’s Susan Solomon and others of the environmental effects of allowing carbon dioxide to equilibrate at levels much above its current 385 ppm.  As Dan points out, the prospects for already dry areas are frightening. There’s another important lesson …

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