Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stavins on the death of carbon cap-and-trade

The guy essentially made his career promoting the idea.  The money quote
But climate change is distinctly different [to the Clean Air and Water Regulation of the 1970s]. Unlike the environmental threats addressed successfully in past legislation, climate change is essentially unobservable. You and I observe the weather, not the climate. Until there is an obvious and sudden event -- such as a loss of part of the Antarctic ice sheet leading to a disastrous sea-level rise -- it's unlikely that public opinion in the United States will provide the bottom-up demand for action that has inspired previous Congressional action on the environment over the past forty years.