“Peace requires a planet to live on, but it also requires justice regarding our environmental and social wealth.”
From where we are now one can see it is not only if but also how we capture the runaway climate that will matter to our children. Our success will create a huge new source of value, like the opening of the American west, or the technology boom, or financial economics. When we limit emissions to make them scarce, the authority to emit becomes a new valuable asset. To whom that wealth accrues will be determined by the design of our policy efforts to address climate change. The outcome will shape the kind of society we create for our children, along with the planet they inherit. Peace requires a planet to live on, but it also requires justice regarding our environmental and social wealth. Many of us began to ask, who owns the sky?*
Future scholars will notice we did not give away the value of our common atmosphere resources. We auctioned it, or taxed it, and value flowed back to its owners – not the one percent, but everyone. We bequeath the ecological and economic dividends of arresting climate change to the children of the future.
*Among the first to do so was Peter Barnes.