IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Why Warner-Lieberman Failed and How to Get America’s Working Families behind the Next Cap-and-Trade Bill


  • David Wheeler



Among partisans of greenhouse gas emissions regulation, the Senate’s failure to pass the Warner-Lieberman cap-and-trade bill is often attributed to rampant denial, fueled by diehard political conservatism, energy-company propaganda, and government suppression of evidence on global warming. If so, the solution to the problem is electoral change, exposure of the propaganda, and public education. However, public concern is already so widespread that even leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention have acknowledged the need for action. In this paper, I consider two additional forces that have stymied carbon emissions regulation in developing countries. The first is the perception that costly carbon regulation promoted by the rich will inflict an unjust burden on the poor. The second is hostility to taxation of critical fossil-fuel resources that were developed long before climate risk was identified. My econometric analysis suggests that these same forces have significantly affected senators’ votes on Warner-Lieberman. By implication, Congress is not likely to approve cap-and-trade legislation unless Americans with below-median incomes are compensated for expected losses. My analysis supports recent proposals for direct distribution of emissions permit auction revenues to American families on an equal per-capita basis.

Suggested Citation

  • David Wheeler, 2008. "Why Warner-Lieberman Failed and How to Get America’s Working Families behind the Next Cap-and-Trade Bill," Working Papers 149, Center for Global Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:149

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Nicole A. MATHYS & Jaime DE MELO, 2011. "The Political Economy of Climate Change Policies: Political Economy Aspects of Climate Change Mitigation Efforts," Working Papers P24, FERDI.
    2. Wright, Evelyn & Kanudia, Amit, 2014. "Low carbon standard and transmission investment analysis in the new multi-region US power sector model FACETS," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 136-150.

    More about this item


    climate change; global warming; economic development;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:149. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Publications Manager). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.