Next Question, Please
‘Is the price of reversing global warming too high?’ asked Neal Conan, host of Talk of the Nation on NPR. Save for conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg – ‘I’m not worried about any problems the world will face 500 years from now,’ when prosperity will presumably cure all ills – Conan’s guests offered pragmatic replies.
‘We’re going to have to move over time to a carbon tax, because we need to send industry the right signals,’ said Dan Kammen, director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at UC-Berkeley. ‘There are many ways to do a tax that are… progressive for the poor…. The poor will suffer disproportionately from climate change… and for the rich to sit around and say, ‘Well, let’s not invest,’ is really environmental racism.’
Barry Rabe, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, shed light on what Paul Volcker recently called the ‘fundamentally false’ choice between carbon constraints and economic growth. According to Rabe, many states and nations that have already acted against global warming have seen their economies expand unabated, while governments that have sanctioned environmental business-as-usual have instead presided over business decline.
‘We’re positioned at a very interesting moment in the U.S., especially given the Congressional focus on [global warming], to think about what some of the policy solutions might be…. I hope that we can raise the level of discourse,’ said Rabe.
Kammen agreed, noting, ‘The thing we’re missing in the debate is to realize how good we are at innovating if we give ourselves the right signals…. Now, most of the money still goes to a fossil fuel-dominated economy, and that’s not good economic or environmental sense.’
(Posted by Dan for Geoff)