What makes me despair is the attitude that we can’t save the planet until we have overthrown capitalism. If we want to get moving on this, we have to start with actions that will work within a market economy. The primary action of that type is a carbon tax.

The self-styles “progressives” who oppose a carbon tax are the ones that are really blocking any progress toward climate action. If you think a carbon tax alone is not enough, don’t reject it — it still needs to be the bedrock on which other elements of climate action must be built. That is why a carbon tax must be the centerpiece of any Green New Deal.

Some progressives worry that a carbon tax could hurt the poor. That is a false narrative that is being seized on by fossil fuel interests and other opponents of climate action. Don’t be sucked in by it.

Here is a longer discussion with some practical ideas for overcoming resistance to a carbon tax. Read it and act if you don’t want to end up living in a yellow desert with some green dots to fuel your air conditioner.

Written by

Economist, Senior Fellow at Niskanen Center, Yale Ph.D. Interests include environment, health care policy, social safety net, economic freedom.

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