Cooling off a Warming Planet

“Cooling off a Warming Planet” by Shammin, Petersen, & Suter Page 1byMd R. Shammin, John E. Petersen, and Jordan F. Suter*Environmental StudiesOberlin College, Oberlin OHNATIONAL CENTER FOR CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCEScenarioSenator Fahey put down his glasses and called his administrative assistant to ask Justin Short, his in-house expert onclimate change science and policy, to see him asap. While waiting, he glanced again at the summary sentences of thelatest report from NASA:“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to whichlife on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2willneed to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm… An initial 350 ppm CO2targetmay be achievable by phasing out coal use except where CO2is captured and adopting agriculturaland forestry practices that sequester carbon. If the present overshoot of this target CO2is not brief,there is a possibility of seeding irreversible catastrophic eff ects.”(1)Th e basic facts had already become quite clear to Fahey. With only six percent of the world’s population, the U.S. iscurrently responsible for about a quarter of total global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Th e most recent sciencewas sobering. Th e report in front of him indicated that the best climate scientists were now estimating that the targetCO2concentration necessary to achieve a stable climate was 100 ppm less than what the Intergovernmental Panelon Climate Change (IPCC) had recommended in its most recent report. Achieving this lower target would meanreducing the rate of GHG emissions by 90% or more by 2050.Our country needs to act and we need to act quickly, he thought. His own position on climate change had evolvedconsiderably in the past decade. Like many of his fellow senators, he started as a “climate skeptic”; he was skepticalthat the earth’s climate was, in fact, changing and skeptical that human activity could be responsible for climatechange. But in the last few years, he had become convinced by overwhelming scientifi c evidence that global climatechange is real and that immediate political action is necessary to prevent dire consequences.However, politics is never straightforward, he pondered. No matter how conclusive the science, opposition to politicalaction among key groups of his own constituency would be substantial. Some members of his electorate were stillgenuinely skeptical that humans are responsible for climate change and view action on this front as a distraction frommore important economic, social, and national security priorities. For example, low-income and minority voters andlarge corporations were a key constituency for the congressman. His home-state economy was very dependent on coalmining and steelmaking. In addition, the agricultural sector depended on grain farming and feared higher fertilizerprices that might come with legislation that increased the costs of fossil fuels. In recent years, groups representingmining and industry had accounted for a large part of his campaign contributions and believed (perhaps with goodreason) that they would suff er economically if action was taken to address climate change. Even among those whoagreed that climate change was a reality, political views on whether and specifi cally how to address the problem
Also thanks to Professor Janet Fiskio of Oberlin College and Professor Clark Bullard of University of Illinois for comments and edits.(1) Hansen, J. and others, 2008. Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim? NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York.Cooling off a Warming Planet:Analyzing the Tradeoff s in Policies for Climate ChangeNATIONAL CENTER FOR CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCE“Cooling off a Warming Planet” by Shammin, Petersen, & Suter Page 2remained diverse and contentious. Th e fundamental problem was that any of the possible policy decisions regardingthe regulation of greenhouse gas emissions that might be taken would inevitably create winners and losers. Th ereality was that the Senator must steer a political course that ensured that he addressed the needs and concerns of hisconstituency.During the last several years, a variety of comprehensive bills had been introduced in the House of Representativesand Senate with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but none had passed. Th e President ran on a platformthat called for legislation that would target an 80% reduction in GHGs by 2050 and there were both Democratsand Republicans who were working diligently to craft climate change policy. However, the current economic crisiswas likely to delay immediate action until next year. Between now and then, as the new legislation was being shaped,was the crucial time to infl uence the content of such legislation. In his heart, Fahey wanted to support a bill thataggressively and meaningfully addressed climate change. In order to do this, he needed to develop a clear policystatement that described the particular components of a climate policy that he was prepared to support. Such astatement must also provide a rationale for his choices that addressed the concerns of his constituents, includingskeptics and corporate supporters.Fahey was calling on his very able staff member, Justin Short, to help him accomplish this task. Specifi cally, heintended to ask Short to assemble a group of experts to identify the political, economic, and social implications ofvarious policy options and to make recommendations regarding the policy. Using the information he collects, Short’sjob is to draft a policy statement for Senator Fahey to review. Th e statement must be in a format that Fahey canprovide to constituents requesting information on his position. As soon as the position paper is drafted, the Senatorplans to meet privately with some of his largest contributors and with leaders of the African American and Hispaniccommunities to see if they can support such a position.Your TaskYour job in this case is to collectively contribute to the development of the policy statement that Justin Short ischarged with delivering to Senator Fahey. Each member of your working group will represent one of four diff erentcharacters briefl y described below and then fl eshed out in a one-page description for each character. Th ese charactershave been designed to embody real facts, points of view, and concerns regarding how to address the economic,environmental, social, and political consequences of climate change legislation.Prior to class you should carefully read the background material on this page and your assigned character’s position.Your objective should be to “get under the skin” of the character you are assigned to represent and to thoroughlyfamiliarize yourself with your character’s information and viewpoint. Th e format in class is as follows. You will startby meeting with the group of students who have the same character as you to strategize on key features your characterwishes to see incorporated into the Senator’s policy statement. Th en, your objective in your working group is topresent your character’s view in its best possible light, to listen carefully to other viewpoints so that you understandthem, and to work with the character representing the senator’s legislative aid to synthesize these diff erent views in arecommendation for the Senator. Stay in your character throughout the process.The CharactersA. Michelle Jansen is a climate scientist. Her principal goal is to ensure that Senator Fahey adopts a position thatis based on scientifi c evidence and that the legislation Fahey supports is calibrated with the magnitude of theproblem.B. John Gregory is an economist. His principal goal is to ensure that the economic policy mechanisms employed areeffi cient and eff ective in bringing about desired goals, that economic hardship is minimized, and that economicopportunities are maximized.NATIONAL CENTER FOR CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCE“Cooling off a Warming Planet” by Shammin, Petersen, & Suter Page 3•Case copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buff alo, State University of NewYork. Originally published March 21, 2011. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissiblereproduction of this work.C. Jane Johnson is a political sociologist. Her expertise focuses on how policy aff ects diff erent social and economicgroups. Her goal in the discussions will be to ensure that the costs and benefi ts of any legislation are equallyborne by diff erent segments of society.D. Justin Short is Senator Fahey’s staff expert on science related policy. His goal is to make certain that SenatorFahey is well informed and that the Senator’s own goals are translated into a rational and eff ective position onthe issue that is defensible to core constituencies within his electorate.Remember that you are expected to carefully review the position statement for your assigned character before the classmeets to discuss this case.The Case BriefTh e lead author of your working group (Justin Short(2)) is charged with producing a crisp, two-page policy statement(limit of 1,300 words strictly adhered to). Th is policy statement should describe the key features that your group ofexperts believes Fahey should ensure are incorporated in any climate bill that he supports. Th is should include a clearrationale that explains the environmental, economic, and social justifi cation for the positions advanced in a way thataddresses the likely concerns of the Senator’s core constituency. Th e policy statement should be structured such thatit could be mailed with a letter to constituents who write requesting information on the Senator’s position (i.e., youraudience is an interested member of Fahey’s electorate). In your statement, avoid mentioning any of the individualcharacters by name. Th e statement must serve the needs of Senator Fahey and therefore it does not need to weigh thepositions of the diff erent experts equally. You are required to draw on at least three assigned readings to support yourrecommendations. You are welcome to do further research if you wish, but this is not necessary or expected. Whenyou cite any outside sources (whether assigned or not), be sure that you follow an established citation format. Youare encouraged to be creative in your policy statement, but the point is to produce a credible position that addressesclimate change, but is also politically defensible to the Senator’s constituency.(2) It probably makes the most sense for the person in your group who represents Justin Short to coordinate the write-up of the case brief.However, everyone in the group is expected to contribute equally (unless otherwise explained by your instructor).NATIONAL CENTER FOR CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCE“Cooling off a Warming Planet” by Shammin, Petersen, & Suter Page 4A. Climate Scientist – Michelle JansenMichelle Jansen received her PhD from Princeton in Meteorology in the early 1990s and has been a key player inthe development of climate models used to conduct scenarios that predict future climate conditions given diff erentassumptions about how successfully humans can control greenhouse gas emissions. Together with hundreds of otherscientists from around the world, she has been an active participant in the development of the last two major reportson climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Formed in 1988 by the WorldMeteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the IPCC has a missionto assess scientifi c, technical, and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientifi c basis of humaninduced climate change, its potential impacts, and options for adaptation and mitigation. Like many of her scientifi ccolleagues, Michelle Jansen feels increasingly frustrated, and frankly very worried, by the considerable disconnectbetween the state of scientifi c knowledge and the state of public concern and political action. She is troubled by theway certain groups with vested interests continue to sponsor biased studies alleging major uncertainties in the science.Th e fact is that for more than a decade, the scientifi c evidence of climate change has been mounting. Legitimatescience is published in peer-reviewed journals and there is not a single peer-reviewed paper that discredits climatechange.(1) Th e IPCC Fourth Assessment Report released in 2007 and newer reports from NASA have all reduced theuncertainty of estimates. Th e Stern Review on the economic impact of climate change released in 2007 is likewise fi rmin its assessment of the scientifi c realities. All point to the same conclusions: Climate change is real, global warming isunequivocal, GHGs released by human activities are the principal cause, and a reduction of 80% or more comparedto current levels is needed by around 2050 to prevent catastrophic environmental and economic consequences. Likemany of her colleagues, Jansen believes we are now approaching a critical threshold beyond which humans may beincapable of preventing catastrophic eff ects.Jansen believes that there is a fundamental problem in the way the public and the media in particular have interpretedscientifi c evidence and the degree of uncertainty related to climate change. Th ey fail to appreciate that the scientifi cprocess is inherently conservative in assessing the eff ects of a disturbance. For example, when scientists test a new drugor assess the eff ects of a toxin, the basic premise is that overwhelming evidence must be documented before it canbe concluded that the drug or toxin is having an eff ect. As a result, the scientifi c community has had a tendency tosubstantially underestimate rather than overestimate the potential eff ects of the rising concentrations of greenhousegasses accumulating in the earth’s atmosphere. Th e factors we are currently most uncertain about—for example,positive feedbacks between biological systems and the climate that are not yet incorporated into the climate models—are likely to increase rather than decrease the estimated rate of climate change. Th e last few years provide manyexamples of how scientists have underestimated the eff ects of climate change; atmospheric CO2concentrations, globaltemperatures, and the rate at which polar ice caps are melting have all increased more rapidly than predicted.Jansen wants to see a strong federal policy to regulate carbon emissions implemented without delay. However, sheprefers cap-and-trade policies over a carbon tax. Under a cap-and-trade program, the government would set an overallcap on emissions and issue tradable allowances that grant industries emission rights up to a fi xed amount. She feelsthat the cap-and-trade approach would ensure the achievement of carbon reduction targets at the lowest possible cost.Th e U.S. has successfully used this approach to control acid rain in the past, which resulted in lower costs than initiallypredicted. Both cap-and-trade and a carbon tax require monitoring and enforcement—to determine taxable emissionsand to guarantee payment in the case of a tax, or to ensure that allowances match overall emissions in the case ofcap-and-trade.Cap-and-trade, however, has some important advantages. For example, some argue that it has greater fl exibilityfor linking national and international initiatives.(2) Th is is benefi cial in today’s global economy, where companies(1) Oreskes, N., 2007. Th e Scientifi c Consensus on Climate Change: How Do We Know We’re Not Wrong? Science 2004 306:1686(2) Chameides, B. 2009. Cap and Trade Part 2: Walking the International Tightrope, THEGREENGROK, June 09, 2009. CENTER FOR CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCE“Cooling off a Warming Planet” by Shammin, Petersen, & Suter Page 5operate in multiple countries at once. Cap-and-trade may also allow the “banking” of emission allowances—reducingemissions early and using the saved emission allowances later. But, to Jansen, the key diff erence between a carbon taxand the cap-and-trade approach is the issue of “certainty.” While a tax provides for greater certainty in costs, cap-andtrade provides for environmental certainty; the total amount of carbon emissions would be fi xed by the cap. Th is capwould be based on the best available scientifi c evidence to date to protect the climate. In contrast, in response to acarbon tax, many emitters may decide to simply pay the tax rather than reduce their emissions. With the prospectsof Alaska and Greenland melting, and with increasing droughts and other weather extremes, Jansen believes thatenvironmental certainty is the more compelling imperative. In addition, taxes are hard to get through Congress. InJansen’s view we shouldn’t let carbon-tax enthusiasts use false arguments to trash cap-and trade, a politically feasibleapproach, in favor of one with a snowball’s chance in a warming world.(3)(3) Claussen, E. and Greenwald, J., 2007. Handling Climate Change. Pew Center on Global Climate Change.NATIONAL CENTER FOR CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCE“Cooling off a Warming Planet” by Shammin, Petersen, & Suter Page 6B. Economist – John GregoryTrained as an economist at Georgetown University, for the last 10 years John Gregory has worked for a variety ofprogressive non-profi t “think-tanks” in Washington DC that focus on developing and promoting economically soundpolicies on Capitol Hill. For Gregory, a sound policy is one that takes advantage of market forces to achieve desiredpolicy objectives at the lowest possible cost to society. Gregory believes that if the most effi cient economic mechanismis not politically palatable, there exist a variety of alternate tools available to achieve the desired result.Th e policy options under consideration on Capitol Hill for reducing GHGs can be roughly divided into two majorcategories—so called “cap-and-trade” policies and carbon taxes. All cap-and-trade proposals have three elements incommon: (1) a cap, or phase-out schedule (i.e., limits on maximum total emissions across all polluters per year); (2)tradable “emission allowances” (entities with excess emission permits can sell their excess allowances to entities with adefi cit of allowances); and (3) a formula for initially distributing the emission allowances. Alternately, a tax on carbonemissions imposes a fee that each polluter must pay on every unit of carbon dioxide (or any other GHG) that isemitted into the atmosphere, which in turn provides an incentive for entities to reduce emissions. Both policies aim toreduce emissions by making it costly for fi rms and individuals to engage in activities that result in GHG being releasedinto the atmosphere.Like many economists, Gregory favors a tax over cap-and-trade. Under a cap-and-trade policy, the price of anemissions allowance is determined by the market and cannot be precisely predicted in advance. As a result, it ispossible that the market price of emissions will be either very high or very low. An excessively high emissionsallowance price would be very costly for businesses and households in the short run and could result in higher ratesof unemployment if fi rms are forced to layoff employees. A very low allowance price on the other hand means thatfi rms have very little incentive to reduce their emissions. With a carbon tax, regulators are able to specify the priceof emissions, thus eliminating the potential for price fl uctuations. Businesses therefore face lower risks associatedwith long-term investments in pollution reducing technology, making these investments a more feasible alternative.Additionally, a tax on GHG emissions provides virtually unlimited opportunities for innovation as every fi rm can savemoney by reducing its emissions. Th is implies that a carbon tax could potentially lead to reductions greater than thoseinitially targeted. Gregory acknowledges that a problem with the tax approach is that the actual quantity of emissionsreductions in response to a tax cannot be precisely predicted in advance and depends on the response of all polluters tothe tax rate that is chosen.(1) Still he feels that a tax has a better chance of avoiding excessive costs in the short run thana cap-and-trade policy. If the emissions targets are not being achieved under the tax in a particular period, then therate of the tax can be increased in the future to ensure that long-term policy objectives are achieved. He understandsthat politicians often prefer cap-and-trade because anything termed a “tax” is generally considered unpopular.Two key questions emerge with either cap-and-trade or carbon tax policies that Gregory wants to convey in thismeeting. First, the net costs of cap-and-trade or carbon tax policies could be quite small if policy implementationstarts immediately.(2) On the other hand, the long term costs of inaction, while uncertain, are likely to be considerable.Economist Nicholas Stern, former Chief Economist of the World Bank, argues that by taking advantage of normalturnover rates for buildings, equipment, and vehicles, the cost of transition to a cleaner and more effi cient energyfuture can be about 1% of the global gross domestic product (GDP).(3) In addition, certain off setting benefi ts maybe expected as the external costs of fossil fuel consumption are reduced; for example, increased national security andreduced air pollution. Second, there is the question of how funds raised through the new legislation are distributed.For example, in a cap-and-trade policy the question is whether the permits are given free to existing industries, sold ata fi xed price, or auctioned to the highest bidders. Th ere is a strong industrial lobby at work in Washington in favor of(1) Shammin, M. and Bullard, C., 2009. Impact of Cap-and-trade Policies for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions on U.S. Households.Ecological Economics 68: 2432–2438.(2) Smith, A.E., Ross, M. T. and Montgomery, W. D., 2002. Implications of Trading Implementation Design for Equity-Effi ciency Trade-off sin Carbon Permit Allocations, Charles River Associates Working Paper, Washington DC.(3) Stern, N., 2007. Stern review on the economics of climate change, Cambridge Univ. Press.NATIONAL CENTER FOR CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCE“Cooling off a Warming Planet” by Shammin, Petersen, & Suter Page 7distributing emissions allowances free to all companies that emit GHGs—in proportion to historic emissions. Underthis scheme, those in the most carbon intensive industries (for example, coal-fi red power plants) would initially receivethe largest share of the allowances. Th is option has some political benefi ts in that it blunts industry opposition tothe legislation and reduces the costs of the policies on consumers in areas that rely on carbon intensive fuels. Oncean emitting industry receives the allowances, their interests are still to reduce emissions so that they can then profi tby selling their excess allowances to others. However, Gregory believes that it is economically ineffi cient to give upthe opportunity to redirect a large revenue stream from polluting industries to new and innovative ventures designedto achieve the desired policy objectives. John Gregory advocates a carbon tax with options to allocate revenues forencouraging renewable technologies, off setting taxes on labor (e.g., payroll taxes), and addressing equity concernsassociated with the policy.NATIONAL CENTER FOR CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCE“Cooling off a Warming Planet” by Shammin, Petersen, & Suter Page 8C. Sociologist – Jane JohnsonDr. Jane Johnson is an academic sociologist and environmental justice activist trained at the University of Michigan,whose past work documented the disproportionate eff ects of toxic pollutants on lower-income communities in theU.S. Her goal is to encourage Senator Fahey to adopt a policy in which costs and benefi ts are equitably distributedacross sectors of the population. Although GHGs are not directly toxic to people, GHGs are similar to otherpollutants in that affl uent people are disproportionately responsible for emissions and often live in areas that are lessvulnerable to environmental damage associated with the pollutants. At a global scale, this can be seen by the fact thatthe industrialized countries of the north are responsible for the vast majority of the emissions while the poor countries,which are least able to adapt, will experience the harshest and most immediate eff ects of climate change. At a nationallevel, the devastation that Katrina brought on the 9th Ward in New Orleans provides an example of how extremeclimatic events can disproportionately aff ect poor people within any country, whether developing or industrialized.Legislation designed to control climate change has the potential to either hurt or help lower-income communities.Th ere are two social equity concerns related to cap-and-trade or tax policies. First, the desired shift to less polluting(but more expensive) energy sources will inevitably result in higher costs for most goods and services. Johnson isconcerned because lower-income families spend a higher percentage of their income on energy—in the U.S. 5%compared to less than 1% for the wealthy.(1) If the policy is not designed to address this fact, the poor will likely beforced to sacrifi ce daily necessities to cope with increased costs of energy while the affl uent will be able to adjust torising costs by cutting back on luxury spending. Johnson argues that, for policies to be socially just, they should bedesigned in a way so that the costs of mitigation are borne by the populations largely responsible for the emissions.Second, there is the question of how revenues from either taxes or the sale of emissions allowances will be distributed.A politically popular idea is to invest the revenues in alternative energy technologies and low-carbon industries,providing businesses with an incentive to enter this new market. Policy makers from states with a competitiveadvantage to develop renewable energy technologies also favor this mechanism (e.g., Wyoming for wind, mid-westernstates for biofuels, etc.). Johnson believes that some of the revenues should be directly targeted towards lower-incomecommunities. Further, Johnson argues that these communities should have some say in how the money is used. Shetherefore believes that decision-making bodies should include representatives drawn from those communities mostlikely to be aff ected by climate change, including urban and rural poor, communities of color, migrant workers, andindigenous nations, elderly, disabled, and special-needs families. Further, legislative eff orts to control climate changemay hurt poor neighborhoods by forcing businesses that cannot cope with higher costs to close. Johnson believes thatprovisions can and must be incorporated into legislation to ensure that job losses in certain sectors are compensatedfor and that vulnerable communities don’t become refugees of the climate change legislation. Johnson argues that oneof the best ways to reduce the negative eff ects of climate change and facilitate adaptation to these eff ects is to draw onthe local knowledge of community members.Past experience with cap-and-trade style policies in the U.S. have not addressed issues of social equity. For example,when cap-and-trade policies were implemented to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions and to phase out CFC production,most of the pollution allowances were distributed free to the regulated companies. Th is left consumers uncompensatedfor the passed-through costs of the new technologies needed to achieve the required reductions. In these cases, majorequity concerns did not arise because the total costs were relatively small. However, since Americans currently spendabout $1 trillion/year on energy,(2) social equity concerns could quickly dominate the debate over climate policy.Johnson does not have a strong preference for a carbon tax or cap-and-trade approach as long as the policy is designedto address equity issues. With a cap-and-trade policy Johnson believes that the polluters should pay the governmentthe fair market price for emissions permits; industries should not be rewarded for prior generation of pollutants.(1) Shammin, M. and Bullard, C., 2009. Impact of Cap-and-trade Policies for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions on U.S. Households.Ecological Economics 68: 2432–2438.(2) Energy Information Administration, 2006.NATIONAL CENTER FOR CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCE“Cooling off a Warming Planet” by Shammin, Petersen, & Suter Page 9She believes that part of the revenues generated from government sale of emissions allowances or from carbon taxesshould be allocated in ways that create “green jobs” and to retrain workers who lose jobs in the polluting industries.Johnson also supports the idea of using part of the revenues to provide a fl at rebate to individuals and families. Herpolitical argument for per capita (or per household) revenue distribution is based on the idea that a clean and stableatmosphere is a fundamental human right. Every person owns an equal share. Jane believes that in the face of risingenergy costs, at least part of the rebate will be spent by households on more effi cient products. If the policy makers inWashington are willing to design legislation that returns revenues from taxes or sales of emissions allowances directly tothe people, then they will vote with their wallets. We will then see the low income as well as the affl uent using marketforces to stimulate technological innovation and market effi ciency while preserving social equity.NATIONAL CENTER FOR CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCE“Cooling off a Warming Planet” by Shammin, Petersen, & Suter Page 10D. Staff Science Policy Analyst – Justin ShortJustin Short realized early on that he was interested in combining his love of science with his desire to participate inbringing about positive political change. Short completed both a Bachelors degree in Environmental Science and aMasters degree in Political Science from the University at Buff alo. While a student he was fortunate to fi nd summerjobs and internships working for a variety of government agencies and legislators. Two years ago, soon after he receivedhis Masters degree, he landed a job with Senator Fahey. Th e Senator immediately recognized Short’s considerabletalent for translating scientifi c fi ndings into recommendations regarding legislation. During the last two years theSenator has increasingly relied on Justin Short’s judgment, and Short does not want to let him down on this crucialissue. Short left his meeting with the Senator daunted and at the same time tremendously excited by the task at hand.Short understands that the policy statement he has been charged with developing needs to strike a careful balance.On the one hand, it is clear that the Senator is eager to support aggressive legislation that will genuinely address thechallenges of climate change. On the other hand, it would be political suicide for the Senator (and by extension forJustin Short!) to advocate for legislation that will alienate his political constituents.Short is confi dent that he will receive useful ideas from the expert group that he is assembling, but it is important thathe communicate to this group the political realities associated with the Senator’s constituency so that they can calibratetheir recommendations accordingly. Short must convey to the group that Senator Fahey was elected as a politicalmoderate representing a rust belt state in the mid-west. Th is state’s economy has been troubled for many years andis currently based on a mixture of remaining (but considerably reduced) heavy industry, commodity farming, serviceindustries, and a fl edgling high-tech sector. Renewable energy resources from solar, wind, and hydro are possible,but are not nearly as concentrated or immediately economically viable as they are in certain other states, while coalresources in the state are relatively plentiful. Th e Senator’s largely working class constituency is concerned about theenvironment, but they are also anxious for policy initiatives that will protect and create jobs and otherwise alleviate theeconomic hardships that have befallen the state. Th e Senator has also had signifi cant support from certain segments ofthe business community—he needs to “bring home the bacon” for this group as well. Senator Fahey’s constituents areready for leadership, but it must be leadership that they can believe in.In order to gather information that will allow him to draft a policy statement, there are a number of questions thatShort recognizes that he must carefully consider. Among these are the following:
What are the key scientifi c arguments supporting strong federal climate legislation? What are the argumentsthat will most resonate with the Senator’s political constituency?
What policy instruments are available? What are their environmental, political, economic, and social tradeoff s?
What are the consequences of these policies on the Senator’s constituencies?
How can he ensure that the policy that he develops for the Senator will address the dire challenges of climatechange and at the same time bring prosperity to his region in the long run?
Are there ways to craft the legislation that will make it particularly appealing to the business component of theSenator’s constituency? Are there policy options that are particularly off ensive to this community?
How can he make sure that, in the face of rising unemployment and a dwindling industrial base during thistime of national economic recession, the climate policy the Senator supports will be equitable?
What features of a policy are most likely to be politically palatable or unpalatable within the Senate?Th e President was recently elected on a platform that stressed hope, change, and innovation. Given this politicalclimate, Short believes that the Senator and his electorate may be open to new types of policy that are distinct fromthose employed in the past. Short believes that by carefully considering the expert opinions of the scientist, economist,and sociologist, it may be possible to craft a visionary policy statement that will meet the challenges identifi ed bythe scientifi c community and at the same time be economically effi cient, socially just, and politically feasible. Th echallenges are formidable, but the potential to be involved in creating legislation of such crucial importance isinspiring indeed!

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