The once and future carbon tax
Enthusiasm for carbon pricing was misguided 15 years ago — but its time will come!
These days I find myself very close, intellectually, to the positions on climate and energy articulated by the Breakthrough Institute. When I had some downtime last fall at their annual Ecomodernism conference and wanted to know more about the group’s history, I found an insightful quote about the group from a review of their 2007 book, “Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility.”
It turns out I wrote the review, which I suppose means I’m becoming both senile and egomaniacal.
My argument back in 2007 was that the Breakthrough team was largely correct in their analysis of public opinion and the inevitable failure of doomsday argumentation, but that they were wrong to infer from this that carbon pricing was a dead end. In fact, I argued that carbon pricing was a natural complement to an ecomodernist strategy:
But whatever the shortcomings of their rhetoric, environmentalists have a very good reason to push for some limits, however much of a downer …
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