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

More

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)

Jump to comments
Presented by

Nicole Allan is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

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

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

What makes a story great? The storytellers behind House of CardsThis American LifeThe Moth, and more reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In