(via Krugman, Original source)
The House just passed a small step forward towards slowing down climate change. Ezra Klein is pessimistic, however.
The flip side to that bit of optimism is that the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill -- am I the only one who wants to see climate change explained to kids by way of the friendly pirate Cap'n Trade? -- probably won't do that much to avert global warming, either.
That said, it's my sense that supporters of Waxman-Markey have spent a lot of time in the last week or two defending the bill in terms of how insignificant its long-term effect on prices will be. I've been one of those people. But I'm not sure it's a good idea. Climate change is a big problem. It will eventually require a big solution. My understanding is that the polling suggests that people don't like it when you tell them this is a big problem and they don't want to be convinced that they need to spend their time worrying about something new. In fact, like kids who want to believe that they're going to the doctor for a lollipop, they want to hear that this is an awesome new jobs program. But it isn't an awesome new jobs program. It's an effort to avert a catastrophe on the only planet we know how to inhabit. And I can't see a successful respond to climate change that doesn't presuppose a majority sharing that belief.