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Left Clouds Over Climate Change Policy


  • Robin Hahnel

    (Portland State University, Portland, OR)


Will there be an international climate treaty to follow Kyoto when it expires in 2012, and if so what will it look like? Many climate justice and anti-capitalist spokespersons denounce the Kyoto Protocol as a “pretend solution†and reject international carbon trading altogether. This article argues that, on the contrary, an international cap and trade treaty is the only way to avert climate change fairly before it is too late, and that the Kyoto Protocol is a framework that progressives should defend and fix rather than condemn and nix. After explaining why many climate justice and anti-capitalist criticisms of carbon trading are without merit and fail to appreciate how international carbon trading can favor lesser developed countries (LDCs), five changes to make a post-Kyoto cap and trade treaty more effective and fair are proposed, and common arguments against carbon trading are rebutted.JEL codes: Q54, Q56, Q58

Suggested Citation

  • Robin Hahnel, 2012. "Left Clouds Over Climate Change Policy," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 44(2), pages 141-159, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:reorpe:v:44:y:2012:i:2:p:141-159

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    Cited by:

    1. Naughten, Barry, 2013. "Emissions pricing, ‘complementary policies’ and ‘direct action’ in the Australian electricity supply sector: ‘lock-in’ and investment," Working Papers 249406, Australian National University, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy.
    2. Dr Barry Naughten, 2013. "Emissions Pricing, 'Complementary Policies' and 'Direct Action' in the Australian Electricity Supply Sector: 'Lock-in' and Investment," CCEP Working Papers 1304, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.

    More about this item


    Kyoto; carbon markets; clean development mechanism; climate justice;

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy


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