I think political analyst Dan Clifton of Strategas, an institutional research firm, has it about right concerning the prospects for a cap-and-trade climate bill passing Congress this year:
I will admit that when I read the headline “China Looks for Big Cuts in Emissions” in the WSJ today, I thought the country had radically shifted policy and was joining the cap-and-trade crowd. My bad. The Reuters hed is more accurate: “China tells rich nations to cut emissions by 40 percent.” (Read the story.) I think it is more likely that the U.S. will eventually slap a carbon emissions tafiff on Chinese goods than it will accede to such demands, not that I think the former is too likely either.
Some interesting factoids from a new Pew Research poll (bold is mine):
In the new poll, 51% agree that protecting the environment should be given priority even if it causes slower economic growth and some job losses, down from 66% in 2007. At the same time, the share saying that people should be willing to pay higher prices in order to protect the environment has dropped from 60% in 2007 to 49% currently. This represents a 17-year low point on this measure. Surprisingly, declines since 2007 in support for economic sacrifices to protect the environment have been particularly large among young people and political independents.