Welcome to Climate Unplugged, a blog dedicated to exploring the politics and policy of climate change. Our team of energy and environmental policy experts includes academics, libertarian thought leaders, lawyers, and seasoned politicos. We provide daily commentary from a free market perspective on a debate that, unfortunately, produces more heat than light in Washington. We hope to produce more of the latter rather than the former.
Our priors in this debate are as follows:
- There is little scientific doubt that the globe is warming and that industrial emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause;
- There is a great deal of uncertainty about the environmental and economic consequences of warming. Accordingly, climate change poses a risk management problem not unlike those found in other private market and public policy contexts;
- Individual risk tolerances – and willingness to pay to avoid risk – is subjective. There is no objectively “correct” perspective to either.
- The atmosphere is a global, public commons. Decisions about how that commons is used must be made by government(s);
- Protecting private property from the risk of invasion and harm is a fundamental responsibility of government; and
- Decisions about when, where, and how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be most economically efficient when made by market actors … as long as said actors have the proper incentives to account for the environmental costs associated with emissions.
Given the above, our instinct is to support a revenue neutral carbon tax that would be tied to a roll-back of EPA regulatory authority over greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas regulation appears to be here to stay. The question, then, is how to regulate emissions while doing the least amount of harm to the economy. Answering that question will be the central concern of Climate Unplugged.