gristOver at Grist’s newly confusing website, Dave Roberts has been on a righteous tear defending cap and trade from all comers. See, for example, Dave lambasting Thomas Friedman. (And then apologizing, but explaining further.) Or see: carbon tax is a poison pill. Or: in defense of one big bill.

For my money, this is climate wonk blogging at its finest. (And, no, I’m not saying that I agree with everything he’s written; I’m saying that it’s smart, thought-provoking, and helpful.) Much of Dave’s best stuff can be found in Grist’s new series, Climate Policy Myths. Here’s a taste from Myth: Climate Policy Must Be Simple:

Among the weird memes that has grown up around the cap-and-trade debate, one of the most puzzling to me is that C&T is fatally flawed because it is complex. Americans don’t “get it.” They’ll only support a climate policy that is so “simple and transparent” that you can explain it on a napkin.

As far as I can tell, that requirement was invented out of whole cloth, specifically for this problem, more specifically for this particular way of dealing with this problem. Yet despite being completely made up, it’s something people repeat to each other all the time, with serene confidence, as though it’s self-evident. It’s crazy.

If you stop an average person on the street and ask them to explain how Social Security works, do you think you’ll get an accurate answer? How about Medicare or Medicaid? How about, oh, governance of public lands? Defense appropriations? Pick a federal policy out of a hat. The mechanics are probably complex. Why? Because the problems are complex,  the government is huge, and there are lots of competing interests involved.


Go read the whole series: Climate Policy Myths.