David throws around a lot of right-wing buzz words. Tax-and-spend, etc., but let's face it--a deep discussion of the policy implications of curbing this disaster is beyond the scope of anyone commenting here.
FWIW, cap-and-trade is not a tax-and-spend policy. To characterize it as such is a lie. Cap-and-trade was developed by free-market economists attempting to use market efficiency to solve the problem. It is not without its pitfalls--moral dilemmas, information problems, speculation, and so on. In fact, it's been dissected by the left and the right for various reasons.
I'm not a big fan of cap-and-trade, myself, but it is not the same as a flat carbon tax, as David proposes, which has never been politically possible in the U.S. I don't think a flat carbon tax would work either. It would probably just stifle the economy, causing those at the bottom to suffer more.
Which brings me to an interesting point that Brian's post reminded me of. The GW crisis is so problematic because those best-positioned to solve it are a) the least likely to suffer the fallout and b) those most likely to profit from denying it. It's easy to scoff at apocalyptic gloom and doom from the relative comfort of North America. For those millions of real, live human beings who depend on the weather for daily subsistence, a prolonged drought or rising sea will indeed bring a catastrophic apocalypse on their household. Apocalypse is not beyond the realm of possibilities for many, many human beings.
I think GW requires international cooperation and a "get to the moon" ambition. It will require sacrifice, but there is no easy solution. Carbon taxes and cap-n-trade will just prolong the inevitable and cause economic woes without solving the crisis. Unless there is massive, unprecedented global cooperation to tackle this problem, then we better start planning on how to live on the brave new world we will be creating.
Europe has been making strides in the right direction, but even if the U.S. were on board, without China and India's cooperation it wouldn't matter at all.
The mercury levels in the Sierra lakes are rising because China is opening one new coal factory every single week....