MA Public Administration and PhD Public Policy alumnus Daniel Rosenbloom recently published a peer-reviewed journal article titled, “Why carbon pricing is not sufficient to mitigate climate change—and how ‘sustainability transition policy’ can help” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS USA). PNAS is the official journal of the National Academy of Sciences, published since 1915, and one of the most cited scientific journals in the world.
Carbon pricing is often presented as the primary policy approach to address climate change. We challenge this position and offer “sustainability transition policy” (STP) as an alternative. Carbon pricing has weaknesses with regard to five central dimensions: 1) problem framing and solution orientation, 2) policy priorities, 3) innovation approach, 4) contextual considerations, and 5) politics. In order to address the urgency of climate change and to achieve deep decarbonization, climate policy responses need to move beyond market failure reasoning and focus on fundamental changes in existing sociotechnical systems such as energy, mobility, food, and industrial production. The core principles of STP can help tackle this challenge.