Times are tough these days for environmentalists concerned about global warming. The political environment in North America has become downright chilly: The debate in the United States is heavily influenced by conservatives who insist global warming is a hoax, and centrists and liberals are unwilling to push for new policy action because they lack the necessary votes in Congress and fear being characterized as anti-business. Canada is moving aggressively to develop its vast (and dirty) reserves of oil sands. Even in Europe, long a climate leader, more immediate worries about economic growth, monetary and fiscal policy, and the future of the euro leave little room on the policy agenda for other concerns.
Meanwhile, global carbon emissions continue to increase at higher rates than experts had anticipated even a few years ago, as more evidence of the effects of global warming emerges, and oil exploration and development continue apace.
I’d say the reason [capping carbon] is a partisan issue is essentially a misunderstanding of what it is all about. Cap and trade is a classic libertarian approach — conservative in both the lowercase and uppercase senses. It is not about stopping capitalism; it’s about creating markets, making sure everyone pays for the pollution they create. And we know that it works.
Full interview over at strategy+business.