emissions trading

Pricing Carbon: What Does It Actually Accomplish?

Pricing carbon may not work the way economists thought.

In theory, pricing carbon should incentivize emissions reductions.  In reality, it is unclear to what extent that takes place unless the carbon price is very high.  This is not to say that pricing carbon is useless, but the main benefits may take different forms. Basically, there are two ways of putting a price on carbon.  …

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The Place of Pruitt’s Nightmares

How is California fighting climate change? Let me count the ways.

In his worst dreams, Scott Pruitt must find himself surrounded by solar panels and windmills, pursued by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Terminator himself, who has returned from the future to stop him before he can doom the planet.  When he awakes, he realizes to his relief that he’s safe in bed well outside the borders of …

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Climate Policy Canadian-Style

Canada is setting a great example to its southern neighbor.

Despite our geographic proximity and close economic ties, Canada doesn’t get a lot of press attention in the U.S. But unknown to many, Canada has been taking aggressive steps forward in climate policy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected Trump’s decision in no uncertain terms: We are deeply disappointed that the United States federal government has …

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After Trump

Some day the Trump/Ryan/Pruitt era will end. We need to be ready to move forward.

Fighting the Trump/Ryan/Pruitt assault on environmental protection necessarily absorbs a huge amount of our energy. But eventually, the current conservative stranglehold on the national government will come to an end. Sooner or later, the government will once again come into more environmentally friendly hands. When that happens, we need to have practical, detailed proposals ready …

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What is the “Left Coast” Doing About Climate Change?

Quite a lot, as it turns out. But stronger coordination is needed.

The three West Coast states have a lot in common, including strong commitments to address climate change. They are all taking action on this front, but so far coordination efforts seem weak. Given the situation in D.C., it would make sense for these states to go further in terms of making a collective effort. It …

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Why Doesn’t the GOP Offer Alternative Solutions to Environmental Problems?

Republicans hate conventional regulations. But they’ve given up on offering alternatives. Here’s why.

There’s one thing we all know: the Republican Party hates regulation.  Republicans want to roll back some  key regulations and make it a lot harder to pass new ones.  But there’s a curious silence about alternatives to regulation.  For decades, conservative Republicans have denounced “command and control” regulations by EPA and other agencies.  So why don’t they …

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Carbon Vouchers: A Small-Government Approach to Climate Action

How to limit climate change without giving the Feds enforcement powers or revenue.

What I’m going to sketch here isn’t a zero government approach. But the government’s role is very limited: federal agencies don’t do any enforcement and the government doesn’t touch any revenue from the scheme. So this approach deals with the concern that a carbon tax or something similar would either expand EPA’s ability to abuse …

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The Rhetoric of Cap and Trade

Different ways of framing the concept of cap and trade help drive the public debate.

Discussions of cap and trade tend to frame it in various ways, which often skews the debate.  These different frameworks guide the thoughts of both supporters and critics, sometimes in surprising ways.  There are four different ways to talk about cap and trade, and they tend to lead the debate in very different directions. The …

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EJ Advocates Renew Efforts to Block Cap and Trade

There are weighty arguments against the EJ position. Even if EJ advocates remain unpersuaded, they should recognize that it is possible to disagree with their views in good faith.

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