There’s plenty to worry about in the implementation of California’s ambitious cap-and trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – in particular, whether it will make the state economy less competitive. But as Harvard’s Rob Stavins explains “environmental justice” (the prospect that the poor will be stuck with more than their fair share of pollution) isn’t one of them. Hence Stavins concludes (and we agree) that the legal efforts by a coalition of environmentalists to stop implementation is misguided. Indeed, we think it ironic: the cap-and-trade approach delivers more bang for a buck than the alternatives, and thus would be less of a financial burden on the poor and less likely to cost them jobs.
The environment has enough enemies. Must we also save it from its friends?