The campaign to adopt carbon constraints has to be judged one of the least successful marketing efforts since the Ford Edsel.Photo: Adam MinterAbout five years ago, I began to argue that future historians would look back at the Kyoto Protocol period (from the mid-1990s to today) as the climate-policy equivalent of trying to fight inflation with wage and price controls in the 1970s: a hopeless approach based on an outdated framework. Winston Churchill’s summary dismissal of disarmament negotiations in the 1930s — another instructive parallel — also fits: “a prolonged and solemn farce.”
The root of the problem is the misconception of greenhouse gas emissions as a simple variation on traditional air pollution, to be addressed with the traditional regulatory framework. But, as Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus have observed, greenhouse gas emissions are to traditional air pollution what nuclear weapons are to street gangs — completely different in nature and scale. This observation needs to be taken to heart.
With the collapse of cap-and-trade in Congress, it is no longer possible to avoid the inconvenient truth... Read more