Economists Stirring Climate Action Pot: Bubble Bubble Socialist Trouble

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Symposium: Alternative U.S. Climate Policy Instruments, Via:Review Of Environmental Economics & Policy.

Improving prospects for multilateral climate action in 2009 are sure to give economists of the world something to publish on besides the popped financial bubble (that most of them failed to see coming). In fact, one likely side-effect of a strong US climate- leadership position is that it will serve as a full-employment guarantee for economists and think tankers.

Here it comes: a press release from Oxford Journals (accessible here) covers three new academic research reports on carbon management - economist style. What a tangled web these would weave in the US Congress.Ideas such as these will provoke a horns-down charge from those in the US already on full alert against the 'socialism monster'.

A neat solution proposed in one the a hybrid cap-and-trade, where allowances are issued and bought, but a ceiling price [is] enforced by the Government holding back a proportion of them....A second paper..., suggests a carbon tax with a modification to protect poorer households who may suffer disproportionately. The more tax that energy providers pay, the greater the price rise to consumers. This paper proposes a novel system for distributing the money raised, with the lowest income group getting a credit worth 2.7 per cent of income and the highest income group, a credit worth 0.8 per cent of income.

There's a corollary question which I wish someone could answer cleanly.

Are the highly educated climate scientists of the IPCC, seemingly having overcome decades of denialist propaganda, to sit idly by, now, as elected officials and economists throw out policy choices?

Here's why I ask. It seems incredible to me that economists would make and test such proposals as these without collaborating with the physical scientists who have been notably more successful in validating models and projecting long range outcomes.

Synergy of Hard Science And Economics
I won't hold my breath waiting to see that collaboration. But, I will say that the question highlights that the synthesis of science and economics is key, underscoring the importance of Carol Browner's role in the Obama Administration: which I assume will be to put it all together.

More on climate tax mechanisms from our archives.

Obama Should Implement Carbon Tax, Eminent Climatologist Says ...
Car Talk Calls for a Higher Gas Tax
Britain’s Stern Report Spurs Action on Climate Change
7 Ways to Fund a Green New Deal: Worldwatch Institute Researchers ...