Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

Senators and Climate, a Mixed Bag

Posted by jab12004 on August 6, 2009

I was at the senate finance committee’s hearing on allowance distribution under climate change legislation earlier this week.  It was really interesting to see how engaged the senators were considering how much of their attention health care is taking.

There was one moment, however, which was not so proud.  Check out the video here (go to the 80th minute) of Senator Kerry talking about a carbon tax.

To put it succinctly, Senator Kerry was …misguided.  As Mr. Viard responded, a carbon tax and a cap and trade program can do the exact same thing.  While a carbon tax is a political non starter these days, no one really debates that it could accomplish a similar goal.

Much to his credit, later on in the hearing Senator Kerry asked a number of questions which were very perceptive and showed a deep understanding of the issue.

He also brought up one of the underlying issues that is driving the climate debate, the EPA endangerment finding.  Most politicians won’t come out and say it as forcefully as he did (minute 111), so it was impressive to hear.  Lets just hope that everyone gets on board so we don’t end up in command and control land.

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