It’s something of a lucky break R Pielke Jr’s latest book was lost in the shuffle of the failed effort at a PR explosion for Lomborg’s movie. A double dud. Still the book is out there.
If Pielke’s first tenet is the completely unrealistic and potentially counterproductive divorce of science from policy, his second, as evidenced by the meager carbon price, seems to be aiming low in the name of political expediency. He suggests five bucks only because it seems feasible and cites the support of Exxon Mobil’s CEO as evidence. Seriously, Exxon Mobil. “The precise amount of the tax itself—whether $5 per metric ton, or $10, or only $3—is less important than that the tax be implemented at the highest price politically possible,” Pielke writes.
Such “pragmatism” amounts to bargaining ourselves down in advance of the bargaining that we have to do with others. Pielke’s carbon price will force fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil to do absolutely nothing differently. Pielke admits this, noting that the point is simply to raise money for renewable energy technology innovation. Such a path, though, ignores the vast scientific consensus that we need to start lowering emissions yesterday.
Absolutely perfect. That’s about the best two paragraph summary of Pielke Jr’s meanderings I can imagine. Congratulations and thanks to Dave Levitan.