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Gernot Wagner's Posts


Naomi Klein is half right: Distorted markets are the real problem

Naomi Klein’s interview in Grist this week is smart, insightful, and half right. Her assessment of the obstacles to solving climate change -- from ideology to misplaced faith in green consumerism -- are exactly right.  And she’s right that fixing this problem means changing how the world does business.

But Klein is wrong in her more serious assertion, first articulated in her “Capitalism vs. the Climate” article in The Nation, that we can save the planet only if we abandon capitalism:

Responding to climate change requires that we break every rule in the free-market playbook and that we do so with great urgency.

The deeper problem is not that our markets are too free; it’s that they are woefully rigged in favor of pollution. Which is also the main reason the Earth finds itself in peril. (I’m pretty sure Klein would agree with that point.)


If it worked for the chronometer ...

EDF’s video contest will spur creativity and innovation around cap-and-trade

This is a response to Joseph Romm's post "Happy thoughts and fairy dust." ----- Nothing like some good, old-fashioned back-and-forth to keep bloggers -- and blog readers? -- engaged. EDF is organizing a video/graphics competition to ask for help in explaining, "What is a carbon cap and how will it cure our oil addiction?" Joe Romm critiqued the competition, calling it "bizarre" to ask others to help us "explain something that isn't true." I responded that MIT's climate model supports us, which prompted another response titled "Happy thoughts and fairy dust: EDF's and MIT's magical thinking on carbon caps and oil." Phew, …

Read more: Climate & Energy


'Bizarre'? No. Tough? Yes

Joseph Romm’s critique of EDF’s contest is misguided

This post was originally published on Environmental Economics. ----- Joe Romm's analysis is mostly spot on -- and if a post starts like this, you already know what comes next. This time he responds to a $10,000 contest organized by EDF (yep, my employer) that asks for submissions to help explain: "What is a carbon cap and how will it cure our oil addiction?" Romm calls it a "bizarre" contest "to explain something that isn't true," since "it is all but inconceivable that a carbon cap will solve our oil addiction." Well, not so fast. A cap alone will not …

Read more: Climate & Energy