Michael O'Hare pushes back:
Romm, in the end, has a romantic and illusory view of how a CAT program will actually work, imagining that it will empower government to impose a great national mobilization, steamrolling lobbyists and special pleaders for exceptions and gimmicks, in which the public will ignore costs and put Stakhanovite shoulders to the common wheel. And he has a naïve understanding of how taxes and charges really affect the behavior of firms and people.
Once over quickly: a well-designed CAT and a properly set CIC will reduce global warming the same amount and at about the same cost. The cost will be large and painful, larger the longer we futz around not getting started on the work. The administrative complexity of both will be enormous, though the CAT will be much more bureaucratic and intrusive. Either will attract an army of lobbyists and whiners trying to get sweetheart deals that will test the resolve of Congress and citizens, and the additional complexity of the CAT will offer them more places to hide bad stuff. In the long run, the CAT will be stickier and harder to adjust as technology advances and we learn more about the costs of climate change, and will lead to an inferior result. And having either is far, far, better than having neither: if the price of getting off the dime on climate is having to do it the second best way (something that may be true, but that Romm only asserts), it's worth paying.
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2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan