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Most strategies for fighting climate change aim to reduce demand. They want to get people to burn less fossil fuel, either through increasing technological efficiency or by introducing Pigovian carbon-pricing schemes.
Last week, a number of writers advocated ways to limit supply—that is, limiting the amount of coal and natural gas that gets taken out of the ground in the first place. The first was Vox’s Dave Roberts, who covered a new paper which says such strategies might be more effective as a way of reducing global emissions.
Roberts frames supply-side tactics in elite/grassroots terms. Climate activists and protesters tend to rally around supply problems: Think of how stridently environmentalists in North America oppose the Keystone XL pipeline. But climate-concerned technocrats, on the other hand, tend to emphasize the power of innovation or demand-side schemes.
That tension, then, makes an interesting pair with my appeal, which also ran last week: that climate-anxious billionaires (or non-profits) should buy coal and keep it in the ground.
My story doubles as a last-ditch strategy for sleepless oligarchs and as a potentially politically feasible U.S. coal policy. It leans hard on the ideas of two men: Matt Frost, a friend (and subscriber, hi!) who works in natural resource management; and Bård Harstad, a Norwegian economist who thinks supply-side schemes are in fact the most efficient way of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide.