Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sensible Advice On A Global Global Warming Pact

Former Secretary of State George Schultz has some sensible advice in today's Post on how to achieve a viable global warming pact amongst all the countries of the world.

In "How To Gain A Climate Consensus," Schultz draws on experience with the Montreal Protocol, successfully used to address the ozone depletion issue. There's no rocket science here. Achieving a meaningful consensus on climate change will require some give and take, some compromise, and some hard bargaining.

No treaty will be perfect--we shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We need to get something started, and over time we can make it better.

Incidentally, Schultz argues that "a straight-out carbon tax is simpler and likelier to produce the desired result" than a complicated cap and trade system. We've previously argued for cap and trade, but mainly on political grounds--that irresponsible Republicans in the U.S. will argue for political gain against anything that is labelled a "tax." We do agree, however, that a carbon tax is far more efficient and likely to be more effective.

It would be nice to see the U.S. take the lead on climate change, rather than be dragged along kicking and screaming. For that to happen, however, we'll have to wait about another year and a half.

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