My colleague Alexei Laushkin alerted me to a Slate interview with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Gingrich is a small government conservative, and he’s not afraid of science, so he understands the seriousness of anthropogenic global warming. He’s not in favor of mandatory caps on carbon dioxide. As an economist, I disagree: I think some sort of policy to give a price to carbon pollution is necessary to get us where we need to be on greenhouse gas pollution.
But a price on carbon is not sufficient–there need to be positive policies in place to stimulate the right kind of investment, and that’s where Gingrich’s perspective is especially helpful. He talks about introducing policies that will allow the entrepreneurial free market system put its energies into finding technological innovations that will create the new energy economy. He discusses them at length in his book "Contract with the Earth".
Gingrich would pay for these incentives with tax dollars–essentially diverting wealth from every taxpayer into the pockets of corporations to incentivize the necessary inventions. I think either a cap-and-trade system with auctioned permits or a carbon tax are better public policy, and the revenues from those policies could accomplish what Gingrich proposes.
Check out the left/right ad in which Gingrich appears with Nancy Pelosi to promote climate solutions. They disagree on the policies, but agree on the science and the urgency behind solving anthropogenic global warming.