What Transformative Policies are up to the Challenge of Climate Change?

A growing political consensus is emerging that climate change is real, is only getting worse, and that something must be done to deal with it. But what? And at what scale? And at what kind of timetable?

Many, like former Vice President Al Gore, argue that we must make big changes very fast. We must put forward transformative policies asap. In fact, in his speech accepting his Nobel Pease prize, Gore called for a comprehensive shift to a carbon tax. Such a tax would shift the incentives of the economy towards clean energy and away from any energy that emits carbon, the critical gas that is a major contributor to global warming. But it also would send shock waves through the economy, creating a lot of new winners and a bunch of losers. Instituting a carbon tax, though arguably very beneficial in the long run, would be extremely difficult to get through in the short run.

Instituting a carbon tax in America sometime soon is something we can expect Elaine Kamarck to comment on in her appearance in next week’s event on “A Moment of Transformation.” Kamarck is at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government after a career in politics and government. She served in the Clinton White house from 1993 to 1997, creating and managing what was known as the reinventing government initiative. She then served as Director of the Kennedy School’s Vision of Governance for the 21st Century. Then she took a leave of absence to work as a senior policy advisor in the 2000 campaign for Al Gore.

Kamarck now is about to co-chair the Climate Task Force, a new organization bringing businesses and environmentalists together around the most effective ways to address climate change. Among other things, they will undoubtedly consider a carbon tax, or cap and trades, or any of the many other ideas out there for how America can become a global leader in responding to the changing climate.

We look forward to hearing what insights she can give about how transformative a time we are in. And we hope you will join us for this free, day-long event, next Wed. (March 12) in Washington, DC. If interested, just RSVP. See you there.

Peter Leyden
Director of the New Politics Institute