I was at the Montreal climate march on Friday Sept 24th, 2021
with a bunch of Mila folk
and it got me thinking again and again about what we can do about the challenge of climate change. A very good summary of the complexity of the situation is given in this video:
I would have added that although it is difficult for governments to figure out where to best invest to minimize the climate catastrophe, we know a systemic way to simultaneously influence all sectors towards a smaller carbon footprint and greater carbon capture, and that is a form of carbon tax at a sufficiently high level (see my previous post on that subject). The other lever that governments should use is massive investment in climate-motivated research and innovations (bypassing markets that would do it, but too late, with appropriate carbon pricing). Bottom line, and where I fully agree with the video, it is in the hands of governments, which means it is in the hands of citizens’ voting power in democratic countries. What about authoritarian countries? I think that new international treaties that tie carbon pricing or carbon emission reductions to commerce are the key. If we accept sacrifices to reduce greenhouse gases in my country, we should not trade with your country if it does not agree to comparable or fair reductions in greenhouse gases emissions. I think that even a non-democratic government wants commerce with the democratic countries, and there are enough democratic countries out there to make that approach a game-theoretic success, I think.