One day after the election, the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that a national renewable electricity standard could be an area of bipartisan energy cooperation, after President Obama had said cap-and-trade was not the only way "to skin the cat." It is ironic that while cap-and-trade -- a sensible approach to reducing carbon dioxide emissions linked with climate change -- is dead and buried in the Senate, considerable support has emerged for an approach that would be both less effective and more costly. A national renewable electricity standard would mandate that a given share of an electric company's …
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Richard Schmalensee is the Howard W. Johnson Professor of Economics and Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.