Put a price on carbon. That’s all there is to it.

We hear that a lot. Sounds simple, right?

As Kate Aranof demonstrates in The Intercept in March, recent events in Washington State show us again that the devil hides in the details:

  • Who would actually pay the price?
  • Who would spend that money, and on what?
  • Can the system be gamed?
  • What might be “good enough”?

Economics, policy, politics, and the pesky fact that we humans rarely see things the same way: these complexities and more lurk below the shiny surface of this and many another good idea.

To complement Aranof’s useful heads-up “demand side” piece, see columnist David Roberts’ April “supply side” essay in Vox about why we should perhaps also cut off the fossil fuel supply.

This new series is curated and written by retired Colorado State University English professor and close climate change watcher SueEllen Campbell of Colorado. Use the Twitter hashtag #ICYMIclimate to flag works you think warrant attention, or send an e-mail to ICYMI@yaleclimateconnections.org any time. Let us hear from you.

SueEllen Campbell

SueEllen Campbell

SueEllen Campbell created and for over a decade curated the website "100 Views of Climate Change," a multidisciplinary collection of pieces accessible to interested non-specialists. She is especially interested...