The Green Paradox: A Supply-Side Approach to Global Warming

In This Review

The Green Paradox: A Supply-Side Approach to Global Warming
by Hans-Werner Sinn
The MIT Press, 2012
288 pp. $29.95

Sinn casts a skeptical eye toward some of the popular nostrums for climate change. He emphasizes the distinction between environmental objectives and policy instruments, arguing that evaluations of the instruments should be based on their actual contributions to objectives, and not on the good feelings that we may get from having simply done something. Along those lines, Sinn doubts that switching to biofuels will significantly help restrain climate change and suggests focusing instead on the “oil sheiks” and “coal barons” who in his judgment are producing far too much fossil fuel, partly because they fear the ultimate success of biofuels and the adoption of stronger environmental policies by rich countries. He proposes a worldwide limit on greenhouse gas emissions, enforced through a global cap-and-trade system and complemented by the levying of income taxes on the earnings that sheiks and barons make on their overseas financial investments, thus creating an incentive to leave more fossil fuels in the ground.