Might the US move from being a laggard to a leader in tackling global climate change? Two recent announcements — the “economists’ statement on carbon dividends” and the Green New Deal — suggest that it might. Intellectually, these proposals are from different planets. But they could be a basis for something reasonable. More important, influential people at least agree that for the US to stand pat is unconscionable. The economists’ statement has been signed by 3,333 US economists, including four former chairs of the Federal Reserve, 27 Nobel laureates and two former treasury secretaries. It has four elements: a gradually increasing carbon fee, beginning at $40 a ton; a dividend paid “to the American people on an equal and quarterly basis”; border adjustments for the carbon content of imports and exports; and removal of unnecessary regulations. This plan is also to be proposed to “other leading greenhouse gas emitting countries”. The Green New Deal comes from a group of House Democrat...

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