Friday, January 16, 2009

CFR Analyze's Obama on Climate

The Council on Foreign Relations has a new analysis of "Climate Policy in the Age of Obama." The gist of it that there's high hopes for Obama to seriously address climate change -- hopes which were boosted by the selection of his energy team. However, the analysis goes on to address why those hopes could be dashed:

1. Obama has not spoken about climate change or 'cap and trade' legislation since November.
2. Pelosi (never mind more centrist Dems) are starting to back away from passing a bill this year
3. Obama has focused more on stimulus and 'green jobs.'

Here's the political problem: anyone who believes that carbon is causing a potentially very harmful change to the global environment has to believe that there needs to be a price placed on carbon, whether through a Carbon Tax or a Cap and Trade system. In no other way can you efficiently address this problem. However, politicians want to be liked -- not necessarily efficient. A price on carbon is inherently a negative, not matter how it is packaged. 'Green Jobs' however, is a way for politicians to claim their creating jobs: a political positive. The efficient response, therefore, will have a very difficult time overcoming the political response.

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