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Category — Acid Rain (SO2)

Cap-and-Trade Creators Dubious of Waxman-Markey (SO2 vs. CO2; political failure vs. 'market failure')

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an interesting story explaining that the two economists who invented the “cap-and-trade” approach to regulating pollution do not think it is an effective mechanism for dealing with manmade climate change. As with so many other economists (including those at the CBO [.pdf]), the creators of cap-and-trade think that an explicit tax is a much more efficient way for the government to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

To avoid confusion, let me stress that I am not endorsing a carbon tax myself–indeed I have a forthcoming article [.pdf] in The Independent Review that critiques the standard mainstream case for government pricing of carbon emissions. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see just how tepid the academic support for Waxman-Markey is becoming. It’s not simply “shills for Big Oil and Big Coal” who oppose it, as many activists would have us believe.

On the contrary, even hardcore alarmists such as James Hansen have come out strongly opposed to Waxman-Markey. And, as the Wall Street Journal story details, even the economists who invented cap-and-trade itself don’t think it’s useful in the global warming context. [Read more →]

August 20, 2009   6 Comments