Rolling Stone has a package of stories on Al Gore’s climate crusade in the current issue. First up is a long interview with the man himself , including this nice tidbit:
What figure in the administration, other than the president himself, do you hold most responsible for standing in the way of meaningful change on global warming?
Oh, Cheney, of course. Both Bush and Cheney come out of the carbon-extraction industry. But Cheney has been the more forceful determinant of the two where this issue is concerned.
And this one:
What about a straight tax on carbon emissions, which many consider the single best way to curb climate-warming pollution?
We need both – a carbon tax and a cap-and-trade system where the emissions rights are auctioned and the revenue is plowed back into renewable-energy development. I challenge the conventional wisdom that we have to pick one or the other. If you replace the payroll tax with a tax on CO2, it would discourage the destruction of the planet’s environment without increasing total taxes. And a global system that caps and trades emissions would create the most effective reductions in the shortest period of time.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has a long piece detailing his proposed solution to the climate crisis. It’s focused on the notion that climate change is the result of a massive market failure — not a free market but a badly distorted and poorly designed one. A truly free market, he says, would save us:
With a little tinkering we can reconfigure and rationalize the market so that it punishes bad behavior (releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere) and rewards good behavior (reducing pollution and conserving energy). Such a move would unleash the extraordinary entrepreneurial energies of our nation so that every American could profit by devising and implementing their own solutions to global warming. With a rational marketplace, new materials and technologies would allow us to rapidly rerun the playbook strategies that nearly liberated us from oil in the 1980s. Within two decades we could get off imported oil completely – this time for good.
He recommends these strategies in particular:
- decoupling utility profits from electricity sales,
- net metering, and
- performance standards for cars, appliances, etc.
And finally, reporter Tim Dickinson, who became famous across the cosmos for his piece on Grist in Outside magazine, digs into government documents to put together a clear story about how Bush and Cheney conspired to stifle action on global warming. I can’t find that one online yet, but it’s fantastic. [UPDATE: Here’s Tim’s piece — check it out.
All worth reading.