At The Economist, the anonymously written Babbage column offers a lengthy reflection on the Climate Shift report and the fierce reaction from a few bloggers.  Though Babbage plows some of the lobbying data questions I’ve addressed in previous posts, the column otherwise offers a range of valuable insights on why cap and trade failed and where to go from here.

On this, the column ends on an interesting observation, discussing the emerging Innovation network of groups I highlight in the conclusion to the report, noting that this still nascent network has yet to really solidify in terms of identity and resources, much less as a political movement. The full column is worth a careful read, but here is how it ends:

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There are more radical ideas around, which reflect the insight that treating something as complex as climate and energy like traditional environmental debates—there’s a pollutant; let’s control it with regulation, technology and self restraint—is not enough. It has to be seen as something complex, something different, something more: as an economic issue, an innovation issue, a national security issue, a development issue, even a philosophical issue. Mr Nisbet’s Climate Shift clearly has some sympathy with this broader approach (and the Nathan Cummings Foundation, which funded his work, also supports other efforts looking at renewing and broadening environmental thinking along these lines, such as the Breakthrough Institute and the authors of the Hartwell Paper). But while such thinking is capable of producing analyses of the way green politics fail to get results in Washington, and UN climate negotiations fail to get results worldwide, it has yet to develop a wide, coherent following and set a strategic agenda that commands wide spread attention, not least because it is the nature of this approach to accept that the sort of immediate and decisive action that many environmentalists want to see simply won’t happen. As the reception of Climate Shift has shown, such arguments will meet fierce resistance and harsh criticism.

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