Some Things Money Can’t Buy, For Everything Else There’s Waxman-Markey

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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7 Responses

  1. sidereal says:

    Once again it seems proponents of Waxman-Markey are talking right past the actual objections to the bill and speaking instead quite generally about the moral impetus of climate change legislation itself.

    This may be true, but Steinglass’ post is a poor example of it. He’s specifically countering Manzi’s claim that the negative effects of warming are tolerable, using GDP as a measure. Steinglass’ counter is that there are methodological problems with using GDP as a measure. In other words, it’s a specific argument against a specific argument, not a general argument for unlimited action.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to sidereal says:

      Fair enough, sidereal. However I think it still misses the point that the bill is simply not a good effort (or even a good faith effort) at reducing carbon emissions. So regardless of how you want to dispute Manzi’s specific claims, at the end of the day you still have a deeply flawed bill, and no amount of moralizing over the effects of climate change on the third world will change that…Report

  2. Ryan says:

    The history of the United States is littered with examples of fairly weak initial attempts being shored up and improved later once the status quo has shifted. Medicaid, the Clean Air Act, ozone pollutants, and so on. Why is it unreasonable for supporters to believe that any kind of first stab at all – just to get the door open and leave room for later improvement – is better than letting the perfect become the enemy of the good? Alternatively, what makes you think that, after failing to pass Waxman-Markey, there will be any will left in the Congress to do anything at all about climate change?Report

    • Consumatopia in reply to Ryan says:

      Yeah, it’s when skeptics of Waxman-Markey talk about the trajectory of future legislation that they’re on the weakest ground, on two fronts. Yglesias put it pretty well when he was talking about the possibility of WM making future regulation harder :

      But I’ve never heard any of the people actually charged with the international negotiations say that. As best I can tell, everyone involved with the Copenhagen process, everyone involved with the U.N., and all the climate negotiators from the major European countries are hoping for something like this bill to pass in order to give the international diplomatic process additional momentum.

      And on the flipside, if it turns out that in response to new economic/climatological data that emissions reduction no longer makes sense, it won’t be hard to repeal–certainly not as hard as it would be to enact if we fail to do so now but later observations force us down that path. I have no idea what Manzi’s talking about “putting a $2,000 trillion economy at risk”–economic changes are a lot more reversible than climatological changes.Report

  3. Kyle says:

    Faith in cap & trade should not replace faith in human ingenuity.

    Pithy. Running for office?

    High speed rail? I don’t know about you but I still haven’t given up my dream of commuting in flying cars.

    More seriously, I’ve seen increasing comments that suggest we should focus more on ways to reduce carbon in the atmosphere rather than trying to limit emissions. Thoughts? Would it be better to just offer a $400 billion prize to someone who can devise a scalable method of reducing atmospheric carbon?Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Kyle says:

      Was that pithy? What I meant to say is this: If we put all our faith in regulations such as cap and trade rather than in investments toward developing better transit, alternative energies etc. we will find our regulations increasingly stifling and not terribly effective. I keep coming back to those two little words: regulatory capture. I don’t know if enough can be said to emphasize how very real a threat that is to any meaningful legislation.Report