Who Killed The Climate Bill?

Posted by | July 27, 2010 14:30 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

The New York Times op-ed page lines up the usual suspects.

Ross Douthat says it was the wise conservatives:

you can see why conservatives might lean toward the wisdom of inaction. Not every danger has a regulatory solution, and sometimes it makes sense to wait, get richer, and then try to muddle through.

Paul Krugman says it was the greedy conservatives:

If you want to understand opposition to climate action, follow the money. The economy as a whole wouldn’t be significantly hurt if we put a price on carbon, but certain industries — above all, the coal and oil industries — would. And those industries have mounted a huge disinformation campaign to protect their bottom lines.

And Lee Wasserman says it was the foolish Obama Administration:

But with climate change a stated priority for President Obama and Congress, how did they fall so short? By weaving four coordinated threads into a shroud of inaction. This began long before President Obama took office, but rather than rip up the old pattern — as he advocated during the campaign — the president quickly took his place at the loom.

But in reality, it was the economy that killed the climate bill.  Climate change is a huge collective action problem whose solution will require short-term sacrifice in order to achieve long-term benefits.  Such sacrifice is much harder when people are out of jobs and the economy is suffering.

Funny how W. twice thwarted action on climate change.  First when he went back on his campaign promise to address it in 2001, and again when his policies savaged the economy, leading to the death of current efforts.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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