November 18, 2009
Who Killed Cap and Trade, Part II
"[Stavins'] argument is wrong in at least two dimensions. First, since the 2008 elections the US has large Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate (including a Senate "supermajority" for much of 2009) and a Democratic President. This fact alone renders Stavins argument flawed. The problem was not a lack of political support, but failed policy design despite the strong political support."
Hard to believe it was nearly two years ago that Michael penned Part I of "Who Killed Cap and Trade," writing:
Who killed cap and trade? Dogmatists on left and right.
On the right, Senate Republican leadership insisted that the problem of climate change isn't serious and nothing should be done. On the left, environmentalist Democratic Senators insist that the only way to emissions reductions is to price our way to a clean energy economy. In this way Democrats actually helped Republicans, who didn't need to do much more than repeat "higher gasoline prices" to defeat the bill.
The insistence by environmental and Democratic leaders on a high price for carbon dioxide led to the creation of a bloated bill that attempted to do things that have nothing to do with energy or climate, like deficit reduction, all while putting very little money into the development and deployment of new technologies -- 20 or 30 years from now.