A prominent member of Congress has proposed a comprehensive national climate-change plan. It's only 28 pages long, it's market-based, and it would put money into the pockets of most Americans.
This is not the first time that Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a House Democratic leader from Maryland, has made the point that the best climate-change policy is not complicated. He introduced a similar plan in 2009. The underlying logic is older still: Since the beginning of the climate debate, mainstream economists, left and right, have argued that the best way to cut greenhouse gases is to use simple market economics, putting a price on emissions that reflects the environmental damage they cause.
As economists see it, the nation is giving a massive implicit subsidy to the users of fossil fuels, who fill the air with carbon dioxide, imposing real costs on society, without paying for the privilege. Make users pay for the carbon dioxide they emit and they will waste less energy, while investment will flow into low-carbon technologies. The nation would obtain emissions cuts at a minimum cost to the economy.