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Friday, June 06, 2014

Why are Conservatives Attacking its Market-Based Climate Options?

Following up on the post below this one, this is Robert Stavins:

EPA’s Proposed Greenhouse Gas Regulation: Why are Conservatives Attacking its Market-Based Options?, by Robert Stavins: This week, the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its long-awaited proposed regulation to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing sources in the electricity-generating sector. The regulatory (rule) proposal calls for cutting CO2 emissions from the power sector by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. ...
Much of the response this week has not been surprising..., but what should be surprising is the fact that conservative attacks on EPA’s proposed rule have focused, indeed fixated, on one of the options that is given to the states for implementation, namely the use of market-based instruments, that is, cap-and-trade systems. Given the demonization of cap-and-trade as “cap-and-tax” over the past few years by conservatives, why do I say that this fixation should be surprising?
The Irony of Conservatives Targeting Cap-and-Trade
Not so long ago, cap-and-trade mechanisms for environmental protection were popular in Congress. Now, such mechanisms are denigrated. What happened? Professor Richard Schmalensee (MIT) and I recently told the sordid tale of how conservatives in Congress who once supported cap and trade had come to lambast climate change legislation as “cap-and-tax.” Ironically, in doing this, conservatives have chosen to demonize their own market-based creation. ...
It may be that some conservatives in Congress opposed climate policies because of disagreement about the threat of climate change or the costs of the policies, but instead of debating those risks and costs, they chose to launch an ultimately successful campaign to demonize and thereby tarnish cap-and-trade as an instrument of public policy, rendering it “collateral damage” in the wider climate policy battle.
Today that “scorched-earth” approach may have come back to haunt conservatives. Have they now boxed themselves into a corner, unable to support the power of the marketplace to reduce their own states’ compliance costs under the new EPA CO2 regulation? I hope not, but only time will tell.

[The original post is much, much longer and detailed.]

    Posted by on Friday, June 6, 2014 at 01:08 AM in Economics, Environment | Permalink  Comments (31)

          


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