Simple measure could be top weapon against global warming
William O'Keefe and Bill Shireman
Both major political parties have received major wake-up calls: the
One problem we can solve together is the climate change risk. Participants in the emissions debate must simply shift their focus from scoring rhetorical points to finding common ground. America has prospered when governed from the center, and we're long past due to return to that philosophy.
Despite its fractious appearance, the divide on this issue is not too wide to bridge. Just consider the two of us. We come from very different backgrounds. One is a lifelong environmental activist, and the other served as a top energy industry executive. Though we differ on some details regarding the risk of human induced climate change (exactly how it's caused, the degree of its severity, how fast we can change, etc.) we agree on this: the risk is real. We must act, but act intelligently.
Moreover, we can agree on the core solution: putting a price on carbon.
Setting the most contentious issues aside will free lawmakers to engage in a healthy dialogue, figuring out the best way to address basic, uncontested issues: humans have and do influence climate; pumping unlimited quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere is probably unwise; our global economy needs new technology and more efficient energy systems, etc. As James Carville reminded Americans during the 1992 presidential campaign ("It's the economy, stupid"), there's much to be gained by keeping it simple. And that goes double for climate.
Out of the three possible ways to impose a price on carbon emissions (command and control, cap-and-trade, and carbon tax shift), the simplest method is also the most promising.
First option: Allow the
That brings us to the third option -- what the right calls a "tax swap" and the left calls a "tax shift." Basically,
Of course, a solution that simple can't be politically feasible, right? Pundits love to look sophisticated by repeating the decades-old conventional wisdom that anything called a "tax" just can't pass. Just like
Fortunately, voters -- not pundits -- decide what is politically realistic. Recent surveys, including one by political pollster
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Climate Change - Simple measure could be top weapon against global warming | William O'Keefe & Bill Shireman
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