Guest essay by Eric Worrall
If we behave we won’t have to accept a full command economy to save the planet.
On climate change, it’s time to start panicking
The crisis over global warming warrants an unparalleled response
AUGUST 5, 2018 11:30PM (UTC)
It is time for us to panic about global warming. Indeed, a proper state of panic is long overdue.
“I would place a price on carbon,” Michael E. Mann, a Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State, told Salon by email. “Whether this takes the form of a carbon tax (a revenue-neutral carbon tax? fee and dividend? cap-and-trade?), I leave that to the policymakers to determine as long as they accept, as the premise for policy, what the science has to say about the reality and threat of climate change. The price on carbon needs to be set such that it leads to a reduction in carbon emissions of several percent a year for the next few decades. If we do that, we can avoid a catastrophic 2C (~3.5 F) warming of the planet.”
He also rejected the idea promoted by many on the left that a lasting solution to global warming is impossible under a free-market capitalist economic system.
“I’m unconvinced that is true,” Mann explained. “In the past, market mechanisms for pricing environmental externalities have worked. We acted on acid rain and ozone depletion within a market economy framework. The real problem, in my view, isn’t the nature of our economic system, it’s the way that special interests and plutocrats have blocked the sort of common-sense market approaches to dealing with environmental problems that were once supported by democrats and republicans alike. The problem is the moral and ethical rot that now lies at the very center of the republican establishment, the lack of good faith and the total sellout to special interests and plutocrats.”
Capitalism and Democracy still has an opportunity to prove itself worthy. Mann is happy for the people’s representatives to decide the exact form of the carbon burden Mann and his friends have demanded we accept.