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Governor of California Jerry Brown speaks during the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference in Germany on November 11, 2017. Photo: Patrik Stollarz/AFP via Getty Images

Last month, Governor Jerry Brown flew to Toronto to bolster support for the 2017 California–Canada cap-and-trade alliance. At home, though, Brown has faced criticism for pursuing market-based policies to reduce fossil-fuel consumption, rather than calling for a state-wide freeze on new drilling.

Why it matters: The California debate illustrates a larger conflict within the environmental movement: Many insist upon the most aggressive climate change policies, but for both electoral and economic reasons, climate change can't be addressed solely by government fiat. To drive change at scale, the government must also engage market forces to create better and cheaper alternative energy sources, cars, homes, buildings and transportation systems.

Regionally banning a globally traded product like fossil fuel is not good political strategy or economics: Consumers would simply buy fuel from outside the state, effectively penalizing California businesses without reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Markets can often guide climate-friendly solutions, especially when business incentives align with environmental ones. For example, coal-generated electricity is declining precipitously in the U.S. — not because of a ban, but because it’s become more expensive than other energy sources. Likewise, the city of Shenzhen, China, recently converted all of its 16,000 buses to electric power, which reduces both air pollution and operating costs.

The bottom line: Using carbon cap-and-trade revenue to support green technology innovation and pilots and removing legal and structural barriers to clean-technology adoption are both strong pro-climate alternatives to fossil fuel bans. Jurisdictions that instate such policies would be rewarded with jobs and economic development as well.

Ron Dizy is managing director of the Advanced Energy Centre at MaRS.

Go deeper

Elon Musk's mega-billion bounty

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Here's how insanely rich Elon Musk is: He has unloaded $10 billion of his stock in the past month — and could do that 15+ more times given his silos of shares.

Ina Fried, author of Login
3 hours ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Huawei sanctions snarled chip supply chains

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The largely successful U.S. effort to hobble China's Huawei has benefitted a host of other tech companies — from smartphone makers such as Apple and Xiaomi to chipmakers like Qualcomm to network vendors including Nokia and Ericsson.

Yes, but: The massive disruption to the industry furthered an industry wide mismatch between supply and demand, exacerbating the global chip shortage.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

Overturning Roe could strain abortion access even in blue states

The Supreme Court is reflected in a woman's sunglasses during a march Oct. 2. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, abortions could be harder to access even in states where they remain legal, because those clinics could be flooded with patients from states that have cracked down.

The big picture: This has happened before, and clinics fear the crush of demand would be a major problem in the immediate wake of a decision that would allow states to ban abortion.