[T]he costs of ambitious front-loaded carbon abatement programs (such as the Kyoto Protocol, fully implemented) would have had (a) only a modest impact on our climate prospects, according to the current models, and (b) enormous economic costs. Yes, something must be done -- but need it be as costly and as ineffective as that? Clive Crook, National Journal
Unfortunately the debate about climate change is so politicized that anybody speaking out against the ludicrous Kyoto Protocol is assumed to be either scientifically illiterate or a corporate shill. Clive Crook is neither (as far as I know) and has some sensible suggestions for the US:
An initially moderate carbon tax, an initially gentle scheme of mandatory caps on greenhouse-gas emissions, and an honest plan to promote long-term energy efficiency could nudge the economy with minimal disruption on to a path of much lower climate-change risk. At the same time - anathema to many environmentalists
- serious thought should be given to policies for adapting to climate change.
Climate Stability Bonds are compatible with all this. Investors in the bonds would implement such measures, but only if they were convinced that they are the most cost-effective ways of dealing with climate change. And they would implement them on a global basis, so that the sources of emissions aren't simply transferred from one country to another. In short, they would take an over-arching, global view of what is, after all, a global challenge. Mr Crook's suggestions are more clearly thought out than Kyoto or the 'do nothing' approach, and are probably much better than either. But they still suffer from their narrow perspective. The goal, remember, is not to reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions from the US, but to stabilise the global climate. Climate Stability Bonds can divert resources into this objective without prejudging how best to achieve it. They would reward only the most efficient climate-stabilising projects, whatever form they might take.