Chait argues that because Congress has repeatedly failed to move on climate change, the EPA should step in:
[W]hile EPA regulation would distance the issue from democratic accountability, it would not remove it entirely. If the public objected strongly enough, it could vote for a Congress to overturn the EPA regulation. In practice, we accept this kind of rule-by-expert routinely. Monetary policy, once the most political of issuesi.e., William Jennings Bryan denouncing the “cross of gold”is now formulated with little regard for public opinion. Congress could overrule a decision by the Fed, but it never does. Likewise, few of us would like Congress to seize control of setting food and drug standards from the FDA.
But a real bill would be far preferable. It's funny how the essentially pro-market concept of cap-and-trade has, because of largely conservative opposition, made old school environmental regulation more likely.