flying-elephant-sky
Shutterstock

The great cap-and-trade battles of 2009-10 were, for me, the culmination of an obsession that began in earnest around 2006, when Democrats re-took the House. You may recall the heady days of the 2007 Democratic primaries, when all three of the serious candidates for president — Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards — had competing cap-and-trade plans, as did the eventual GOP nominee, John McCain. Back then it seemed extremely important to hash out the fine policy details. It was virtually all I thought about, for years on end.

In the end it all crashed and burned. There have been many partial (in both senses of the word) accounts of how that happened, and why, but it’s been the subject of remarkably little serious, scholarly attention. So I’m glad the Rockefeller Family Fund commissioned Harvard political scientist Theda Skocpol to do a deep dive into the story [PDF] and extract what lessons she could.