The NYT has a piece about how the economic downturn may "limit moves on clean energy." This piece, like most of its ilk (they’re catnip to the media), is about 80 percent vaporware, built on quotes from people or countries that were resisting "moves on clean energy" before the downturn anyway.

But it’s an excuse to point to this piece from Brad Plumer, which argues that, contra conventional wisdom, an economic downturn may be the best possible time to implement a cap-and-trade system.

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In a nutshell, the argument is this: while the economy’s in the crapper and emissions are down, you set carbon baselines at higher pre-recession levels. That way, when the program is first implemented, businesses have to buy relatively few permits. However, they’ll have time to get accustomed to the program and plan out, so that when the economy gets going again and the cap starts to bite, they’ll be ready.

It’s an intriguing argument. What do y’all think?

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