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[Episode #141] – Making Climate Policy Work

Why have nearly all attempts to price carbon failed, while targeted policies to achieve certain objectives, like phase out coal plants or increase wind and solar generation, succeeded? And how can we design climate policies that are truly effective?

In their new book, Making Climate Policy Work, Danny Cullenward and David Victor argue that policymakers and policy advocates rely too heavily on market forces to combat climate change, and instead should be focusing on smart, targeted industrial policy strategies aimed specifically at reducing greenhouse gases. Market-based climate policies are doing very little to reduce emissions today, they say, but with careful reforms, markets can be harnessed to help us make meaningful progress against the climate challenge.

In this episode we speak with one of the authors and try to distill a recipe for good climate policy from their book.


Danny Cullenward is an energy economist and lawyer working on the design and implementation of scientifically grounded climate policy. He is the Policy Director at CarbonPlan and a Lecturer at Stanford Law School, where he teaches courses on energy and climate law. Dr. Cullenward also serves as a member of California’s Independent Emissions Market Advisory Committee, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Hearing Board, and the UC Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative (BERC) advisory board. Along with UCSD Professor David G. Victor, Dr. Cullenward is the author of Making Climate Policy Work, which describes the political economy of market-based climate policies. In addition to an active public interest regulatory law practice, he has represented environmental scientists as amici in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. Supreme Court. Dr. Cullenward holds a JD from Stanford Law School and a PhD in Environment & Resources from Stanford University.

On Twitter: @dcullenward

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Recording date: February 3, 2021

Air date: February 17, 2021

Geek rating: 5