Krugman on Cap-and-Trade: "We Can Do This"

Paul Krugman has a virtuoso piece about the economics of climate change in this weekend's New York Times Magazine. He methodically disassembles climate skeptic arguments and builds a case for a cap-and-trade approach to cutting emissions. Action should be taken immediately and aggressively, he argues, due to the possibility of a "doomsday scenario" for future generations.

Whichever side of the climate change and cap-and-trade debate you're on, it's worth reading. It's also quite long, so here's a summary of Krugman's main points:

1. Climate Change: It's happening. It's time to trust the scientists, drown out the naysaying, and tackle the problem using economic incentives.

2. Cap-and-Trade: It's the best option for a market-based solution, which is the only viable way to address greenhouse gases. An emissions tax is less flexible.

3. Cost: Cap-and-trade will slow economic growth, but only by a very small amount.

4. Conservatives: Their obstinate resistance to the science of climate change and the economic tools for tackling it does not mesh with the rest of their worldview. Whatever happened to Reagan's "magic of the marketplace?" The Republican Party's attempt to convince Americans that we can't afford to put a price on carbon is "a political ploy rather than a reasoned economic judgment."

5. China: If the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter refuses to participate in emissions reductions, the U.S. and the E.U. should resort to carbon tariffs. Corralling global participation will be tough, but with a few key players on board, it will be doable.  

(Nav Image Credit: A6U571N/flickr)

Presented by

Nicole Allan is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Business

Just In