The Citizen's Guide to Climate Success.

AuthorBoyd, Roy

The Citizen's Guide to Climate Success, by Mark Jaccard. (Cambridge University Press, 2020). 295 pages, ISBN 978-1-108-74266-5 (paperback), ISBN 978-1-108-74266-5 (online open access pdf)

In this book Mark Jaccard attempts to fill an important gap in the literature on Climate Change and Climate Change policy. To date, most of that literature fits into two broad categories. (1) Highly technical books and articles dealing with various aspects of the climate science, engineering, or economic issues involved, and (2) Impassioned pleas by either environmental advocates calling for immediate action, or more conservative authors (generally aligned with the fossil fuel industry) cautioning against costly carbon restrictions. Here, by contrast, the author writes a generally non-technical book, which, though advocating strong policies to advance carbon abatement, tries its best to avoid hyperbole in making its arguments. Instead, he calls on his many years of expertize in both climate science and public policy to logically and persuasively argue why certain policies are much more likely to succeed than others, and why some ideas advocated by environmentalists actually run the risk of being counter-productive.

In the opening chapter of the book, Dr. Jaccard briefly summarizes the chapters to come and lays out three of the primary themes that he will return to frequently in making his case. The first of these themes is that human myth making, while useful in building social cohesion, can be manipulated so as to avoid adherence to scientific facts, and that the resulting self-delusion is largely responsible for collective inaction on climate change. Second, if there is to be meaningful climate policies, at the national level they should largely consist of a series of flexible regulatory polices (i.e. flex-regs) specifically designed to eliminate the use of fossil fuels in the energy and transportation sectors. Finally, success at the international level will require compliant developed countries to adopt a carrot and stick approach whereby aid is given to developing countries that adopt "low-emissions technologies" while at the same time punishing "climate laggard countries" by levying tariffs on the carbon content of these countries' exports.

After a brief description in the second chapter of how the human propensity to cognitive bias can be influenced by self-interested parties such as tobacco companies and fossil fuel interests, Dr. Jaccard proceeds...

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