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Climate policy is an exemplar of environmental problems in which political and scientific elites identify urgent problems, create idealized solutions, and then seek to convince everyone else to follow their lead. The current paralysis in climate policy arises because particular climate advocates are guilty of having made a serious category mistake. Taking a cue from economics, climate change has been framed as problem of “market failure”—as an “externality” requiring the same sort of response often applied to standard pollution problems. However, this framing of climate change as an “economic problem” has led policy makers to assume that there is an “economic solution” to the “economic problem.” That solution is to tax greenhouse gasses (GHGs) (primarily carbon), or to create a “cap-and-trade” program so that there can be trading of emissions. When highly developed countries then try to convince developing countries of the wisdom of such policies, there is surprise when poor countries are not enthusiastic about such plans. Climate change will remain problematic as long as it is framed as an economic problem—with gainers and losers. In this chapter, we offer an alternative way to frame the problem of climate change, and we suggest that had this approach been followed from the beginning, we would not today be locked in climate paralysis.
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- The Climate Problem
Daniel W. Bromley
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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