Includes thoughts and comments about energy needs, resources, conservation and their relationship to politics at home and around the world.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Carrot v. The Stick
John Kerrey and Newt Gingrich had an interesting debate this morning on the issue of climate change and how to meet the challenge of developing ways to counteract its impact. It was not an argument about whether we are undergoing climate change or the need for action to combat it. And, it wasn't an argument about the science of it. Their debate boiled down to whether it should be government running the show or private enterprise.

The Stick
Kerrey took the position that government had to take the lead by setting the standards of how much reduction in greenhouse gas needs to be achieved, by what date, and putting the heat on industry to get there.

The Carrot
Gingrich's disagreement was that we can get to the goal quicker and at less expense by "incentivizing" industry to do the job. The incentives would include tax breaks on research and development. He believes the Kerrey approach would require a whole new and costly bureaucracy replete with likely court cases etc. that have plagued so many government regulatory agency efforts in the past.

I personally prefer Gingrich's approach, not because like him I'm a conservative politically, but because I have always favored carrots over sticks. I'm confident that private industry scientists and engineers can get us to acceptable greenhouse gas levels in relatively short order given sufficient incentive.


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