Attention Republicans and Democrats: Pigovian carbon taxes may be political suicide. Not much of a surprise in that idea, but it took concrete form in Canada over the weekend when the Liberal Party (the Democrats of the North) picked a new leader, Stephane Dion. Mr. Dion is an inducted member of the NoPigou Club, having campaigned against carbon taxes throughout his leadership bid.
Going down to defeat is former Harvard prof and international intellectual Michael Ignatieff, an avid Pigovian. Ignatief even mentioned carbon taxes in his speech to delegates at the convention: "We must put a price 0n pollution and on carbon emissions."
Not great politics. Bad economics, too. Did Ignatieff spend time with his Harvard colleague Greg Mankiw? Ignatieff's leadership bid had other problems, but I would put his Pigovianism on the list of stumbling blocks. When it came down to the final votes, Ignatief would have carried no support from Alberta, Canada's oil province. Dion, meanwhile, would have attracted Alberta suport, even though he's a tough-talking promoter of the Kyoto Protocol.