Today’s guest is Joseph Majkut, Director of Climate Policy at Niskanen Center.
Joseph is an expert in climate science, climate policy, and risk and uncertainty analysis for decision making. He is frequently cited by prominent media outlets; his writing has been featured in scientific journals, public media, and environmental trade press; and he has been invited to testify before Congress on climate and scientific research. Before joining the Niskanen Center, he worked on climate change policy in Congress as a congressional science fellow, supported by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He holds a PhD from Princeton University in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, a master’s degree in Applied Mathematics from the Delft University of Technology, and a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Harvey Mudd College.
In today’s episode, we cover:
Joseph’s background pre-Niskanen, including why he left academia and came to DC
Overview of Niskanen and their work
Niskanen origin story, including how it is similar and different to the Cato Institute
Joseph’s role as director of climate policy and how his team fits in
Initiatives they are currently working on, and how they select and prioritize
Discussion about carbon pricing, viability and implications
Discussion about political landscape and best way to make headway in polarized climate
Advice to others looking to help
Links to topics discussed in this episode:
Niskanen Center: https://niskanencenter.org/
AAAS fellowship program: https://www.aaas.org/programs/science-technology-policy-fellowships
Jerry Taylor bio: https://niskanencenter.org/blog/staff/jerry-taylor/
Cato Institute: https://www.cato.org/
Article on Supreme Court decision from 2014: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-court-limits-epas-ability-to-regulate-greenhouse-gas-emissions/2014/06/23/c56fc194-f1b1-11e3-914c-1fbd0614e2d4_story.html
You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at email@example.com, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.
Enjoy the show!
Jason Jacobs: Hello everyone. This is Jason Jacobs, and welcome to My Climate Journey. This show follows my journey to interview a wide range of guests to better understand and make sense of the formidable problem of climate change. And try to figure out how people like you and I can help. Today's guest is Joseph Majkut, director of climate policy at the Niskanen Center. The Niskanen Center was founded by Jerry Taylor, who spent 23 years running energy and climate at the Cato Institute where he was pushing a very anti-climate agenda. Jerry came to have serious doubts about the work that he was doing, and he left to found Joseph Majkut based on the libertarian ideals, but pushing a very pro-climate agenda. So it's a fascinating organization and Joseph is fascinating as well because Joseph spent many years in academia. He's got his PhD from Princeton University in atmospheric and oceanic sciences. A master's in applied math from Delft University of Technology, and a bachelor's in math as well from Harvey Mudd College. Yet now he spends all of his time in DC talking to legislators and policy people. We cover a lot in this episode including an overview of Niskanen, how it came to be, the work that they do, how that work is similar to the work at the Cato Institute and how it's different.
Jason Jacobs: We talk about Joseph's role as director of climate policy and how his team fits in. We go into depth about some of the initiatives that they work on, how they prioritize those initiatives, what success looks like. We also have a great discussion about the 2020 election, different policy initiatives, and the climate fight in general. And also, how things have gotten so polarized in this country, and what's the best path out. I thought overall this was a great discussion. I learned a lot, and I think you will as well. Joseph Majkut, welcome to the show.
Joseph Majkut: Yeah. Thank you for having me. Pleasure.
Jason Jacobs: Great to be here. And yeah, you guys are interesting. I am not sure quite what to make of Niskanen. It's intriguing because, so Jerry, the founder of Niskanen came from the Cato Institute for a long time, right?
Joseph Majkut: Yup.
Jason Jacobs: And was actually working, so I did a little prep coming here and I spent some time with Jerry a few weeks ago as well. But he was actually working on energy and climate stuff at Cato, kind of anti-climate, right?
Joseph Majkut: Yes.
Jason Jacobs: Yeah. And now he's at Niskanen and essentially climate is the cause where you guys spend most of your time, right?
Joseph Majkut: I mean, I think it's fair to say that we're working with the zeal of a convert. Yeah.
Jason Jacobs: Yeah. So that is fascinating. It's not fascinating to talk to people who were protesting with Greenpeace when they were eight years old and always knew that they were going to be climate activists or devote their lives to it or things like that. But I think a convert is a particularly interesting story, because maybe there's some learnings there for others who are still out there not accepting, or ignoring, or actively denying what 90 something percent of scientists have consensus about. Is it 90? What's the percentage?
Joseph Majkut: Strongly depends on how you ask the question. Right? I think it's fair to say that if you want to talk, we've seen temperatures going up for the last 150 years or so. Carbon dioxide concentrations have been going up for slightly longer than that since the industrial revolution. The highlight numbers that you see, the 95, 97% consensus is around the warming being caused by the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, which is a result of industrial emissions. So it's the basic proposition that humans are causing climate change. Around that there's a very high degree of consensus among scientists. Depending on who you ask and how you ask the question, you get slightly different numbers.
Joseph Majkut: The funny thing is, and actually under appreciated by folks who are in the conversation, the consensus gets tighter and stronger the closer you get to experts who specifically study that question, the human impact on climate. Or how much we can attribute temperature changes to greenhouse gas emissions.
Jason Jacobs: So the ones who specifically study it, there's a higher degree of consensus?
Joseph Majkut: Yeah, the degree of consensus gets tighter the closer you get to the people who are actually publishing on that question alone.
Jason Jacobs: Yeah, that's interesting. I wonder to some problems, this isn't a climate question but, it's a slight tangent. But if some problems work the opposite where it's like very high consensus the further away you go. And the closer you get, the more debate. I can't think of one.
Joseph Majkut: I don't know that I have an example, but I would say that actually this really matters and I think is going to be meaningful for our conversation today. Because part of what we try do at Niskanen Center is help people understand how the scientific process works, and what results from the scientific process are trustworthy.
Joseph Majkut: So when scientists know something really well, when you've gone through the reproducibility process, when you've studied a particular question from slightly different angles. It should be if you're arriving at something revolving like a truth or the truth, that people who are directly setting this question have a pretty good sense of consensus. And then the people nearby them who are in a good position to evaluate their work, but they're reading the headline sentence of each paragraph and not necessarily all the details. Go, "Yeah, it seems like these guys know what's going on." Or, "These people, this community knows what's going on." And as you get further and further away in terms of specific expertise, that level of consensus might diffuse a little bit because somebody's gonna qualify their statements saying, "Well that's what my colleague said. I'm not quite sure I know exactly all the details." So there's a bit of a hedging there. This is like how expert analysis in my view should work.
Jason Jacobs: There's almost an unlimited amount of juicy stuff there for us to dive into. But before we get too far, maybe we should take a step back and start from the top. What is Niskanen? What do you guys do? How long have you been around? Founding story. It'd be great to just get some color there.
Joseph Majkut: You mentioned that one of the things that makes us, we're a small D.C. based think tank. We work on federal public policy. Not just on climate, though that's a big issue for us. Probably occupies the largest section of our staff, and is something that we're really known for in terms of Niskanen brand in town. But our mission broadly speaking is to educate public policymakers and do research, promote and advance policies that we think are going to make the world and particularly the United States more productive, more fair, and generally create an environment where we have an open dynamic and not progressive in the necessary political sense. But a forward looking and improving society. And climate is a big part of where we put our emphasis for two reasons.
Joseph Majkut: One, it's a place where public policy is really behind the eight ball in terms of the nature of the problem and what needs to be done about it or what we think needs to be done about it. And two, it was the primary range of expertise for our founder, man by the name of Jerry Taylor, for most of his career. So you mentioned he was formerly a staff member, an executive at the Cato Institute. Which is the biggest libertarian public policy think tank, I would guess in the world. Certainly very influential in the United States in terms of libertarian thought on almost any public policy issue you can come up with. And Jerry ran their energy and environmental portfolio for several decades. And in climate, Cato is generally known as being wary of government intervention to do anything about greenhouse gas emissions, and skeptical of the narratives produced by climate science.
Joseph Majkut: So for much of his career, Jerry was working on the climate issue from what you might call the other side, right? Skeptical of the case for intervention, skeptical of the degree of scientific consensus, skeptical of the urgency of climate risk. And over the course of his career, the times in the 2000s, late 2000s, and then for several years. Jerry changed his mind about climate. First finding or discovering that the scientific narratives he was resting a lot of his beliefs on were very shaky. They'd come from experts that he trusted, but the ideas that he was trafficking were not trustworthy. And when you vetted them against real expertise, they fell apart.
Joseph Majkut: And then a lot of the economic storylines that he was relying on about the impracticality of decarbonizing the economy and the high degree of economic cost that would be incurred if we were to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level where you're actually going to affect climate. Those arguments began falling away too.
Joseph Majkut: We've written the whole intellectual story line a few times on our website and another place. I can share links with you and for your audience. But I think the important thing to emphasize relating to what we were talking about a second ago is that Jerry was doing what a thoughtful public policy analyst is supposed to do. Looking at the best available evidence, stress testing his own arguments. With the ambition of having the best arguments he could have. And eventually, he found he had to change his mind.
Joseph Majkut: And in the process of standing up Niskanen outing himself if you will, about his change in beliefs on climate advocacy and the urgency of doing this. It became part of our mission to help other people make that same journey.
Jason Jacobs: And when you look at the work of the Cato Institute versus the work of Niskanen, is that the one big difference in them otherwise philosophically aligned? Or are there other key areas or topics where you guys diverge when Jerry went to start Niskanen relative to the world that he was coming from?
Joseph Majkut: I would say, this is just institutional strategy stuff, D.C. think tank ideas of how you make change in public policy is probably the biggest difference. Somebody at the Cato Institute might disagree, but Niskanen operates under a model which says that public policy change largely comes about by changes in elite political opinion, right? That you need a strong consensus between lawmakers. Their staffs, the experts who inform how they think about these problems to activate policy change, and to go from a bill that's introduced by a few members of Congress through a committee process. Through a political fight and maintain some of the public policy goals that you started with. You need this kind of elite consensus.
Joseph Majkut: So we work to affect elite opinion, right? So we work with and tailor our arguments and our materials and the way we talk about problems to appeal to the interests, the motivations, and the framework that political elites and policy leads operate in.
Jason Jacobs: Versus what? What do they do at Cato?
Joseph Majkut: So a lot of D.C. think tanks, this is not Cato exclusive, are much more focused on a large scale war of ideas that takes place in media, that results in lots of books being written. But is focused on changing public opinion under the assumption that as public opinion changes, the demands placed on legislators and public policy leads will change in the longterm. And that will activate public policy change in the direction that you want to see.
Jason Jacobs: So that say a tactic and a go to market. But the actual ideas that you're looking to propagate, what about the overlap there.
Joseph Majkut: Well it varies by department. So I think there's probably a lot of sympathy between our immigration program and the immigration program at the Cato Institute. Recognizing that high levels of migration are good, that we want to create a welcoming society because one of the best things you can do for the economy of the United States or the freedom of an individual is move them from place where they have limited opportunity to a place like the United States. So there's probably a lot of overlap, a lot of agreement there.
Joseph Majkut: On climate for instance, we're not in the same place at all. Right? The Niskanen Center thinks the urgency of the climate problem is compelling and government intervention is warranted. And we can talk about the specific policy implements we think should be used. And the folks who work on this problem at Cato disagree, and we've argued publicly in think tank venues.
Joseph Majkut: Overall broadly, Niskanen doesn't identify ourselves as libertarian any more though I think we are still influenced by a lot of libertarian thought about the importance of maintaining freedom, about how markets are an efficient and useful allocator of resources. And the importance of maintaining high levels of economic growth. And we favor, I would say rather than favoring small government in all quarters at all times, we favor smart and effective government.
Jason Jacobs: Yes. Maybe this is a question for Jerry. So if it is, we can just keep moving or we can keep moving either way after I ask it. But if it wasn't for the climate disagreement, was everything else good or was that just one divergence of many and then he set out to build a firm that had a different set of ideals beyond just the climate difference?
Joseph Majkut: I can only give you my perspective as a colleague and a friend of Jerry's and an observer of this transition. I think that there was an underlying strategic difference and a skepticism about a purist approach versus this in the trenches conciliatory, pragmatic approach that I described earlier. When you embrace that, your mind opens. When you start working with new colleagues, when you start working in a new environment. So as Niskanen has matured over the time I've been here, I've been here for about three and a half years Niskanen has been open and fully operational for I believe four or five. That you can find yourself shifting in a lot of ways. When you subject yourself to evidence and start asking yourself what is the best set of ideas, and do my ideas hold up in the face of scrutiny? You might find yourself changing quite a bit.
Jason Jacobs: And you also found yourself with an interesting transition. It wasn't just Jerry. So you were working as a, I mean you're a PhD, right? Working in the oceans. Tell me about that and what led you to, what were you doing and then what led you to switch gears and how did that come about?
Joseph Majkut: Sure. At Niskanen, we're still relatively small. So the people who come here are willing to embrace a risky, innovative, different environment. And I probably fit that description.
Joseph Majkut: Up until about five years ago or so, I was a research scientist who was doing graduate work at Princeton University. I was a chemical oceanographer studying the process by which excess carbon dioxide, so that stuff that we emit and it accumulates in the atmosphere, eventually leaves the atmosphere. It's really important and probably underappreciated by a lot of folks who look at this problem that only a fraction of the emissions that we release into the atmosphere reside in the atmosphere for a long time. A lot of it is taken up by forests, by plants on land, and a lot of it is taken up by the ocean. And in particular, I was looking at ocean issues. Because eventually that's the place where, you think about this problem in the longest term. Carbon dioxide that's emitted will leave the atmosphere, and the earth can return to, it's hard to say some natural state. But eventually the human impact on warming will fade because carbon is leaving the atmosphere and going into the ocean.
Joseph Majkut: This of course gives you ocean acidification. It gives you all sorts of chemical changes. But I was studying and trying to improve estimates of how fast excess carbon is leaving the atmosphere, entering the ocean, using a combination of climate models and in situ observations, and being a line worker in the scientific process.
Jason Jacobs: And you thought, I feel like switching gears and joining an advocacy firm and talking to policymakers all day?
Joseph Majkut: It wasn't so quick actually.
Jason Jacobs: I said that mostly in jest.
Joseph Majkut: So as I matured intellectually and academically, I got interested, and just in climate science now, right? Like in any field, you focus on the big problems. So if you're a climate scientist now it's really hard to work in climate science and not work on the human caused climate change issue. Not because that's where all the funding is or that's where all the intellectual work is. But it's like actually you're kicking a system that you want to understand really hard. So you get a lot of information out of studying that problem.
Joseph Majkut: But as I matured, I was interested in thinking through how is the information that we're generating informative to the problems of managing climate change? So I was a graduate student during the Copenhagen Convention in 2009. There's a lot of folks in our academic community who were looking at public policy, worked in energy systems. Really so I was developing this broader view of climate change as a social, political, and scientific issue. And I started working on, do you mind if I go deep for a moment?
Jason Jacobs: You got the mic.
Joseph Majkut: I started working on trying to understand how valuable we could make our scientific measurements right? Because like in any problem in the world, right? We have scarce resources, we're trying to allocate them well. You read papers on ocean carbon uptake, and there's always a line in there. It's like this is a really important research objective because the international community wants to meet these climate targets. 2C, 1.5C now. And meeting those targets depends strongly on how much carbon is going to be taken into the ocean. And being able to predict that better and understand it better is going to be important for decision makers to understand.
Joseph Majkut: I was always as a scientist really bothered that that was a fairly non quantitative statement. Right? It's made, but understanding how important it was became important to me. Right? Because I was putting a lot of time into it. This was seen as a benefit of the research we were doing. But I wanted to understand how big of a benefit it was.
Joseph Majkut: So I got very into this highly technical work trying to understand if you were to have a very different earth observation system. If you wanted to invent one, how quickly by increasing the number of measurements you're taking, or the character of them, or where you're taking them. Could you resolve some of the uncertainties that we have about how much future ocean carbon uptake can we expect under various degrees of global warming? And how much would the resolution of that uncertainty help policymakers make better decisions? And that got me into the intellectual exercise of trying to think through how you value scientific information. How you put a dollar amount on it.
Jason Jacobs: In this country, I feel like if scientific information was a stock, it would have taken a bath in the last couple of years.
Joseph Majkut: We still invest very heavily, but here's actually the point.
Jason Jacobs: But in terms of how it's valued.
Joseph Majkut: In terms of how it's valued-
Jason Jacobs: At least at the federal government level.
Joseph Majkut: So I could write computer model that would say if we take this set of measurements, then we will be able to decide between reducing emissions at a 3% rate versus a 5% rate. I don't have the percentages in my brain anymore, but those are decent examples. Because if you learn that the problem is worse than you expect, you want to reduce emissions at 5%. If you learn that the ocean is actually going to keep taking this stuff up, we can do 3%. The climate problem in this context is all about balancing costs and benefits. But then you look at what's actually happening, and we're doing neither of those, right? We're still increasing emissions.
Joseph Majkut: So I found myself intellectually struggling and personally struggling with putting all of my daily efforts and working very hard and being an expert on what I came to believe were hypothetical changes to a first best climate policy that exists in a computer but doesn't resemble anything that's happening in the world. So I decided I wanted to understand. If I can produce this kind of information, if I can produce these estimates, my colleagues are doing the same thing, right? All these people I respect and admire. Why is the information we're creating not being transmitted? What's the blocking agent?
Joseph Majkut: And I was fortunate enough that I was able to apply for a fellowship through the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Every year they put a few dozen PhD scientists on the Hill to work as fellows for members of Congress. To understand the policymaking process better.
Jason Jacobs: This is gripping by the way. Keep going. But I'm loving this story. This is fascinating transition.
Joseph Majkut: Oh man. Cool. It's been an interesting ride so far. So you'd have folks who came from agriculture, who came from child development, and a lot of people who were interested in climate and energy issues like I was.
Joseph Majkut: So I got to come to the Hill. I got to enter the Washington D.C. policymaking scene. Very interesting. I worked for a Senator from Rhode Island, for whom climate is a huge issue, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. And I found that I had an aptitude and I enjoyed working in public policy analysis, and probably not directly in politics. I don't think that's my thing. But working in an environment that's very different from academia, but where expertise I believe matters. A lot of people seek it out, a lot of people want good information. And as that fellowship was coming to an end, my family decided we would stay in D.C., and we like living here. And I was looking for my next spot. And Niskanen was an exciting young organization that I could join. And one of the reasons I came here was in this world, I don't know what it's like in the business community where you come from. But in this world, finding somebody who publicly changes their mind about a matter of empirics is extremely rare. So that demonstrated to me that this was a place where we could work hard and stress test our ideas, and try and find solutions to problems based on information. Right? Because I'd come to this whole field wanting to understand what keeps people from using the information that's available.
Jason Jacobs: And how did you factor in political leanings, if at all when you're trying to figure out how to have the biggest impact on the climate fight?
Joseph Majkut: Yeah. So Niskanen, our executive staff comes from libertarian think tanks. Most of our staff come from a right of center perspective. I didn't have a particularly strong ideological viewpoint when I arrived in D.C. I was a subject expert. I've probably found my general home here at Niskanen, though folks here have a very diverse set of political views, and other views. But when you look at this problem from a political context, the most underserved market in public policy analysis for decent analysis that's empirically justifiable and consistent with what academics use. Is the right. So because of a mixture of where our staff is, where Niskanen comes from. We focus almost all of our work on the rightest center, in particular Republican policy makers trying to help them think through these issues. And from a pragmatic standpoint, that's actually crazy important.
Joseph Majkut: Because this is an issue that we have a two party system in the United States. One party generally embraces government intervention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Lots of different flavors of that type of intervention. But it's assumed that Democrats favor climate action and Republicans don't. At least when I started here, they were very wary of it. I would say in the time that we've been working on this issue as well as many of our friends and colleagues, there's been a real increase in the open-mindedness that folks on the right are viewing this problem. But the general assumption is if we want stable and ambitious climate policy to decarbonize the U.S. economy, which is a prerequisite to decarbonizing the global economy. In the next 30 years, which is the course of the rest of my career, knock on wood. We need to have a bipartisan approach. Otherwise the valiance of politics will keep upsetting climate action as I think we're seeing now.
Jason Jacobs: So how do you think it got so politicized and how do we unify the country around climate action regardless of political views?
Joseph Majkut: I think it got politicized for a few reasons. The coalition that Republicans and the areas where Republicans tend to represent are fossil fuel heavy. That's a big part of the story. If you're going to do something-
Jason Jacobs: Entrenched interest.
Joseph Majkut: Yeah. If you're going to do something really ambitious about climate, you're putting at risk the business models that a lot of folks have right now. There is also a if you're a small government thinker, if you generally are skeptical, like a lot of us here at Niskanen about the ability of bureaucrats and selected experts to manage a complex social and economic system. Particularly when you're looking at something so broad as greenhouse gas emissions, which come about when you eat a hamburger, and when you fly in a plane, and when you drive to work, and when you turn on the lights, right? Its energy use is ubiquitous in our day to day lives. So figuring out how to eradicate or how to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions when you look at the problem from that context through government power makes a lot of people on the right very wary.
Joseph Majkut: So there's, I'm not saying that there's all this, there's a complete storyline of motivated cognition that then you want to avoid the problem whatsoever. But I think that is part of the story, right? If you're wary of the solution, it makes you more apt to say, "I don't know if the science is really quite there yet as well."
Joseph Majkut: So I think a combination of factors led us to where we are now or where we were. Going forward, I think unifying the country is maybe not the term I would use. We know that there's plenty of appetite in the American public for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Pulls very favorably with Democrats and increasingly with Republicans, excuse me. But the method or the appropriate set of policy changes haven't been found yet. Those things that you can take from an idea, whether it's in a book, or an academic paper, or a white paper from a think tank. And you can move it through the legislative process, get buy in, and get longterm consensus that this is a worthwhile change. We haven't found enough of it yet to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Jason Jacobs: So I have lots of questions about the, we haven't talked at all about what actual policies and climate action plans Niskanen is advocating for? I mean that's certainly a meaty topic that we should dig into. But before we do, I just want to understand. So you said that we need bipartisan legislation to be durable. You didn't say in those words, but I assume that's what you meant. Is that-
Joseph Majkut: Yeah, totally.
Jason Jacobs: Okay. Just want to make sure I'm not putting your words in your mouth.
Joseph Majkut: You might even say sustainable.
Jason Jacobs: Okay. So we need it to be bipartisan, right? But then Niskanen was built with at least initially, with libertarian ideals and that you spend most of your time and identify with the right side. It might be center right, but the right side of the aisle. So are the groups then working on this side of the aisle just saying, "Well we need bipartisan around my ideas," and then on the left side of the aisle saying, "Well, we need bipartisan around my ideas." But yet we all know that we need to act, and have urgency, and it needs to be yesterday, and we're way behind the eight ball, and the hole keeps getting deeper, and the suffering keeps increasing in terms of the wrath that we're going to face as a species over the next several decades. Right? So what do we do about that?
Joseph Majkut: So each year of delay, it makes the problem worse and worse, right? That's part of the frustrating nature of being in this business. What we think we do about that, and the reason why we think this bipartisan thing is important is that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a longterm project, right? It means turning over the infrastructure that we use, the kind of business models that exist in the economy. And the way people go about providing all the goods and services that currently rely on emitting greenhouse gases, largely through the combustion of fossil fuels. And that process if you look at engineering studies of the U.S. economy. Doesn't have to be too expensive. It doesn't have to be onerously expensive. It creates a lot of opportunities at the same time that it sunsets others. And we can make an orderly transition to a productive and low carbon economy by mid century. I believe the best evidence shows.
Joseph Majkut: But, if you want to use government power to do a project like that over 30 years. If you don't have some bipartisan support, and let's talk about the nature of that support in a second. It'll be very hard to maintain a constant and predictable level of government intervention. And that means it'll be very hard to maintain a predictable and constant downward pressure on greenhouse gas emissions. And that's what we want to see.
Jason Jacobs: Given the four year election cycle?
Joseph Majkut: Yeah, so totally. So the way that we manage this problem right now through U.S. government policy, it's the law of the land.
Jason Jacobs: For now. It might be forever if it's up to Trump.
Joseph Majkut: Yeah. Well actually really interestingly, it might be forever if it's up to some of members of the environmental community. Right now because the Supreme Court ruled that if EPA finds that greenhouse gas emissions threaten the health and welfare of Americans, then they are required to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Right? And when President Obama was running the government, charged EPA with regulating greenhouse gas emissions from cars and certain fossil fuel producing processes. The headline one was from the power sector, right? Coal plants, natural gas plants, and other things. The clean power plants, the regulation that EPA was forwarding.
Joseph Majkut: But the nature of U.S. law says that the next president has to change all those rules if they see fit. Now they have to legally defend those changes. But it's like working the regulatory process is complex and long term and is, we are all then subject to the whims of successive administrations. So if the problem remains it as it is today, then you can predict that you'll see this seesaw between we're going to have really vigorous regulatory action and a lot of attention. And when a democratic administration comes in, there's going to be a flood of experts coming from think tanks and academia with plans in hand for what they want to do. And then in the natural course of things, somebody from the other party wins, a Republican wins, and all that stuff gets rolled back. And that's what we're seeing right now in the Trump administration.
Joseph Majkut: However, if you change the law, if you say enough folks can agree in Congress that this is the way we should do this and this is the level of intensity we want in our climate policy, right? The price we want associated with emitting greenhouse gas emissions, or the rate at which greenhouse gas emissions come out of the power sector, or the efficiency of cars, or whatever that is. You set yourself on a predictable path. And that means that as you go through successive administrations and you go through successive congresses over the next 30 years, you offer some stability to the program, the government programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I think that's really important.
Jason Jacobs: But what would be the actual change? The change would be that certain laws could not be overturned?
Joseph Majkut: You would change the laws to say rather than have the president choose the vigor of our climate policy every four years or every eight years, Congress has decided that we want climate policy for the next 10 to 15, to 20, to 30 years to accomplish these goals. And then it's the president's job to figure out how exactly to implement those policies through the regulatory mechanisms.
Jason Jacobs: Yeah, I'm glad that that's the change you're talking about. When you first started on this, I thought the change you were talking about is no more two term limit for president. Because I said if Trump had his way. But anyway-
Joseph Majkut: No, no, no, no, no. But I will say a lot of people like the regulatory system, right? The environmental community knows it very well. It's worked very well in other contexts. But if you want to use it to decarbonize, I think you're trying to drive the cross country in a car that was suited for something else. And for climate, given the nature of the problem, given the timescales involved, given how broad the issue is in the U.S. economy, I think we need a different model. And we think that a lot of the reluctance embrace climate action on the Republican side also springs from the fact that they think we need a different model. And it's Niskanen's job to try and figure out what that model is.
Jason Jacobs: So where are you guys in that evolution? Is there a clear policy framework that you've got that you're striving for, and now you're busy going out and doing the work to try to get people on board with that? Or are you still defining it?
Joseph Majkut: Yeah, we think the next available tool for us is an economy wide carbon price. I know you've talked about carbon pricing in a few episodes on your podcast. But just from the basics, I think when you emit greenhouse gases or you're buying fossil fuels, that the prices you pay for the services you're buying should incorporate the fact that those fossil fuels are gonna eventually be burned and you're going to release CO2. And the reason for that is a couple fold.
Joseph Majkut: One, prices really work to incentivize behavior. So when in the existence of a carbon price, if you're choosing between low carbon production and high carbon production, whether you're an individual consumer or business making investments in new technology. You will favor low carbon over high carbon to the extent that it's cost effective. And as you make these cost-effective changes, processes change, supply chains change, business practices change. And the low carbon stuff just becomes the order of the day. And gradually over time, you're able to decarbonize the economy without having to have an army of folks with similar qualifications and experience to mine at the DOE figuring out, "Okay, what kind of light bulbs should people be able to buy? What kind of microwaves?" You go through the list of all the stuff that involves greenhouse gas emissions and just becomes mind bogglingly complicated. So we want the work to be done in an evenhanded way by folks out in the private sector who are in the best position to figure out what is best for them in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Jason Jacobs: And do you have a very clear position on how that tax should be implemented? For example, the revenues from that, what should be done with them?
Joseph Majkut: Yeah, so there's four primary axes for when you think about carbon price design in the U.S. context. How big is the carbon price in over what stuff, I mean where should it be levied? Who should pay it? How is the money used? What other policies are you going to keep in place or decide you don't need any more? And how is this whole system going to be implemented?
Joseph Majkut: The biggest one in the U.S. context that we talk about is how do you use the revenue. Because compared to other environmental regulatory tools, one of the things you get out of a carbon price since it is a tax, is government revenue. And that revenue can be used to reduce the costs imposed by the tax, offset some of its more troubling aspects like for instance, higher energy prices for low income people? Or many people think that it can be used to guarantee or bolster the political acceptability or sustainability of the program.
Joseph Majkut: So one example of that would be the federal government would collect a bunch of money in terms of in a carbon tax, and give it out to households in an even dividend or rebate. So that even though people are now paying slightly higher energy prices or they might see the price at the pump go up, 70% of people come out ahead.
Jason Jacobs: Is that the Niskanen view, or that's just a hypothetical of what someone might view?
Joseph Majkut: So these are all options. We have a slightly frustrating answer. We think carbon pricing is warranted on its own merits as a tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions rapidly and in a cost effective way. How the revenue gets used. I think there's a lot of hypotheses, but nobody's quite figured out how to crack the code to gain political support and keep it. We think it should be used productively and not wasted, but our policy advocacy is not focused around a particular model of carbon tax revenues.
Jason Jacobs: Okay. So here's a question. So some think tanks are focused on very specific, like I talked to one that said we have this very specific one. And if the revenue's not used this way, we don't support a carbon tax. Right? It's like a carbon tax, but it's got to be this specific way. Someone else says we think that it should be revenue neutral. Someone else says we think it should be used for social services. Someone else it should be used for infrastructure. Right? Someone else says should be dividended back to the people. Right? You say, is what I'm hearing from you, "We don't have a horse in the race. We just want one of these to get over the line"?
Joseph Majkut: Yeah.
Jason Jacobs: They're all our horse?
Joseph Majkut: They're all our horse. The carbon price is our horse, right? So our climate program is focused on unlocking the conditions that we can have meaningful carbon price to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Jason Jacobs: Does it need to be a tax? Is cap and trade your horse.
Joseph Majkut: I'm happy to have an intellectual conversation about cap and trade versus carbon tax. I think our present assessment is that in the U.S. context, a tax is a better instrument for political reasons and for design reasons. Cap and trade system puts you in the position of having to create a fairly large exchange that the government has to manage, and creates a lot of problems for just how do you design it, what's a credit, what's a negative credit? Who gets them for free, who doesn't? In terms of the emissions permits, a tax avoids. A lot of that complication because it's evenly applied.
Jason Jacobs: So given that you are a center right, or right side of the aisle speaking to the right side of the aisle. In that you don't have a horse, or that carbon tax is your horse in the race. And then there's different groups working on it. And some, I mean it seems like are competitive with each other. Right? Then how do you determine how to spend your time?
Joseph Majkut: That's the fundamental question of the modern age.
Jason Jacobs: You're like a portfolio manager of supporting their efforts or are you doing your own efforts direct with legislators?
Joseph Majkut: So you think about again the audience, right? Political elites. So a lot of our work is trying to figure out across all those four dimensions of carbon tax design, when we're talking to legislators and policymakers, what's the best information we can share with them? What are the questions they would have and how do we curate what is a much larger body of information they're going to have the time or the willingness to wade through to meaningfully inform their consideration? So it's a very two way process. And that's very different from a lot of our colleagues who come plan in hand. We think this is the carbon tax that you should assess, and the money should be let, we'll use the dividend example, but only as an example. I'm not discriminating against it in any meaningful way. But we think that this money needs to be spent this way for these reasons, and here's the pre-packaged solution.
Jason Jacobs: So are you like fertilizer? Before they get any specific policy presented to them, you're just trying to warm them up to, it's like that they need to land on one of these policies? You're trying to just get them in the frame to be more accepting of attacks in some way, and then another group might come in with a specific policy to propose?
Joseph Majkut: Yeah. I think what probably the best way to describe what we're doing is saying if you're concerned about climate and you have all the natural concerns about supporting climate legislation that members of Congress have, on both sides of the aisle. What's this mean for my district? What does it mean for my people? What does it mean for the companies that exist in my district that employ people? What does it mean for the planet? Right? In terms of environmental integrity. The legislators are in the best position to figure out how to weigh those relative concerns for the office in that they hold and the stance in their constituents. What is for us to do as a think tank and an advocacy organization is to help them map out between different choices, what will be the impact on the considerations that they're taking to account. We're happy to help negotiate or figure out those considerations as well. So operationally, what that means is when we find members of Congress or tax councils at large companies who work in the government affairs office who want to know more about carbon pricing. We're in a mode of answering questions and of finding solutions, not pre-packaging things for them.
Jason Jacobs: Is there anything about your viewpoint as it relates to carbon tax that would not have bipartisan appeal for people that want a carbon tax?
Joseph Majkut: That's an interesting question. I think there are things that we like in carbon tax design or we think is necessary in carbon tax designed to gain political traction, that challenges folks. So let's actually look one of the most interesting examples. We think a carbon tax is probably going to be pretty close to revenue neutral, not necessarily. There are examples in Congress that we've helped to think through the policy design of that are not revenue neutral. But I think the general sense that to gain traction, at least some of the money needs to go back to folks either through reduced tax rates, or dividends, or rebates, or something like that. It's probably reasonable. But how exactly you do that challenges a lot of folks. Priors to you, do you give money back through a cut in the payroll tax, which means workers are sending less of their paycheck to the government every month? Or do you do it through a rebate system where all the money goes to the government, then it all comes back out? That's a challenging conversation between groups that all advocate for carbon pricing and are trying to achieve a relatively similar set of things through different means. Super interesting. The politics of near differences, as you probably know, are always challenged.
Jason Jacobs: Yeah. But here's the thing. What if all those groups came together and said, "Hey, we have two choices. Either we butt heads with each other for the next five years until we finally get something done that's a compromised position that everyone's going to be okay with, but no one's going to like. Or we can just all agree to put something in place that everyone's going to be okay with. No one's going to like today, and get five years of time back in the carbon fight."
Joseph Majkut: So the two comments on that tempered by my experience, but this is me speaking exclusively. The people who end up having to make this decision and who have to champion this policy, carbon pricing will always be a hard vote for them. Are members of Congress. It's very hard to have that discussion that you just described in a host of external organizations of varying political viewpoints and sets of priorities. Bundle what comes out of that process, and bring it to Capitol Hill and expect that it's going to run through the legislative process and be recognizable at the end. That's a very hard thing to do, and it's probably a relatively fair characterization of what was tried in the Waxman-Markey process. Right? There was a host of environmental and corporate agents that were trying to figure out what are the lines of this policy that we want to see achieved that fed into a policy making process on the Hill. The whole thing got contorted. It never passed.
Jason Jacobs: You're saying it's almost like a legal document. Or it is a legal document. If it's policy, then it's like every I need to be dotted and T needs to be crossed. And therefore, they needed to be dotted and crossed in some way. So even if we all aspire and are willing to settle that there's no way that that can be coherent when it comes out the other side unless you have a stance?
Joseph Majkut: Not quite. What I'm saying is that the, one of the insights that lead you to support carbon pricing is you never exactly know what's best for some energy company. How am I supposed to know? Even though I'm a public policy advocate, what's going to be best for some energy company five or eight years down the road in terms of what their investment portfolio should look like in the presence of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I can't be familiar with their immediate concerns. Can't keep it all in your head. The same logic I think applies to some degree on the Hill. Eventually if you want to change federal legislation, the process has to run through there. And you can come up with great ideas. But if you're not educating people and getting buy in on the fundamental idea that this is decarbonization through pricing mechanisms is warranted and worth compromise, and worth taking political risk. And putting your time into, right? Those folks up there work on a lot of different issues. It's just very hard for you to from an external perspective, say I know exactly what you all need. Here is the end compromise solution because I've built this delicate object off the Hill.
Jason Jacobs: I mean, I'm not an insider at all. So that's the big caveat of this whole thing. Either a climate insider or a D.C. insider. But to me, I guess here's my fear. So it's a weird analogy. But if I need to eat more fruit and my doctor says, "You need to eat more fruit, or you're going to die." And obviously that's not true. But just hypothetically, let's say that was true, right? And then these different, the apple salesman comes to visit me, and the pear salesman comes to visit me, and the orange salesman comes to visit me, and they're all trying to convince me why their fruit is better than all the other fruits. And I get paralyzed because there's too many choices. And as a result, every passing day and month and year that I'm not eating the fruit because I'm trying to decide. That my medical condition is getting worse, right? I mean there's a bigger hole than I need to climb out of. So to me, the dividend and use it this way and all these different things are like different kinds of fruit. Where if they all banded together and they just said, "Hey, we only have one message for you. Eat whatever fruit you want, but just eat more of it."
Joseph Majkut: I mean that's exactly what the Niskanen Center is saying, right? We don't know what fruit you prefer. Kiwifruit, orange, watermelon. But also federal legislation doesn't come about with an N equals one set of decision matrices. Right? Because what you end up having, to extend your analogy probably inappropriately. What you end up making is a smoothie and everybody's picking fruit that they want into it right? Some member of Congress likes kiwifruit, some member of Congress likes orange fruits. So you're never going to get full consensus up there. There's too many varied interests. That's why we have a democratic process. What you want to do is say everybody needs to be eating more fruit, which is everybody needs to be pricing carbon. So here's the relative costs of Kiwis versus oranges. Here's the relative nutritional content. Bananas have a lot of potassium, right? It's like here's the potassium in a banana versus versus in an Apple. Let's help you think through this process.
Joseph Majkut: So don't take my, I'm not reluctant to say Niskanen has, we're happy to evaluate what we think as traction, what has a lot of support. But I think at this point in the carbon pricing conversation, we're in a position where a diversity ideas is good. Because what we really want to see is people on the Hill and policy folks looking at various sets of approaches and saying, "Here's what I like about this. Here's what I don't like. Here's what I can accept and here's what I would want to change." Because that's the negotiation process. That's the process by which this system is supposed to work and I believe can work. Because going back to a concept we were discussing earlier and what's important in about our work and what makes me really proud to work here. Is we think bipartisan support is just an absolute prerequisite to sustainable and successful climate policy-
Jason Jacobs: Why do you only talk to one side of the aisle?
Joseph Majkut: We don't. We focus our efforts, but we're a nonpartisan organization. We talk to anybody who asks to speak with us, and we keep to up to date with what folks need to hear on the left and the right. But why we think it's important to focus with Republicans is if you look at the number of carbon pricing bills that has been introduced in the last few Congresses, they're almost exclusively come from Democrats. What we think is important to have is buy in from the ground level, from a bipartisan set of legislators who aren't signing on, so what we don't get is a bill moving through Congress at some future date, and it's primarily a democratic led initiative and you're able to get like a few Republican votes maybe. What you want is bipartisan agreement. You want this thing to be kindled from a bipartisan agreement so that there's ownership and negotiating power on both sides of the aisle from the very beginning. So when we look at what the situation is today just from an objective, this is an operational statement, not a partisan preference one. What the state of the world is today. You need more options that Republicans are willing to champion. And that means you need to spend most of your time working with Republicans.
Joseph Majkut: We do that in a way that is informed through our work with the environmental community and with Democrats and others. Thinking through what is the range of possible solutions for those folks. Because in the end you need to have something that everybody can agree to.
Jason Jacobs: So what is the state of the state today? Where do we need to get to get some type of carbon tax over the line? And then what are the intermediate steps that need to happen between today and that day?
Joseph Majkut: If we had the answers to all those questions, we're in a good spot. The state of the world today, climate is becoming a much bigger issue. It's what, July 2019.
Jason Jacobs: Awareness and urgency is growing. It's still not where it needs to be or anywhere close, but trending in the right direction.
Joseph Majkut: Yeah. So it's July 2019. Compared to where we were when we started here, it seems like there's much more willingness on both sides of the aisle to talk about this as a political priority. Not just something we should do, but something we should actively be working on. Right? And that's actually, I think an important distinction because that's what gives people, that's what makes them want to take a climate meeting. That's what makes them want to learn more about this issue. That's what makes staff interested in learning about the issue. So I think there's a general and building sense that climate is worthy of folks' attention in a way that we didn't necessarily see even a few years ago. That's important. And it's good.
Joseph Majkut: We're seeing lots of interesting proposals come out. So last year, Carlos Curbelo who's no longer in Congress, but at the time was a representative from Florida. Was the first Republican to sponsor a carbon tax bill in I believe almost 10 years. And that unlocked a bit of a dam. So we now have bipartisan carbon pricing bills. At the end of last year, we had them in both houses. This year, we just have bipartisan support in the house. I think we're expecting to see more proposals come out with Republican bipartisan sponsorship saying here are four people who can agree to price carbon in this way. Here are two who want to do it in this way. That gives advocates like me and hopefully the folks that are in your audience, something to look at and gives them an understanding of these different elements of policy design. Gives everybody a chance to kick the tires.
Joseph Majkut: Because what we really want to have as a general climate activist community, no matter your political valiance, is an understanding of what carbon pricing reform should look like. What the major points of contest are going to be, where we're going to need to have negotiations. Because nobody can quite predict when a moment of opportunity arises. Whether it's a new Congress or a new president, or some emergent event.
Jason Jacobs: Especially these days, we can't predict anything.
Joseph Majkut: No. Climate's too important to rely on a particular political assembly of the house, the Senate, and the presidency. So what we want is to be ready when I think about it as it's quite operational, right? You want to be ready, you want to know what the ground looks like, what various folks' interests are going to be. You want to have stress test your ideas. We ever enter a carbon pricing conversation where legislation is being drafted and moving through committees. You don't want it to be the first time that anybody's seen this particular design choice or this particular type of proposal. You want to be fighting with good information at that time and be in a position to provide people with good information at that time. So what needs to happen I think over the next few years, but it needs to happen basically all the time in this community, is vetting proposals against each other, understanding their similarities, understanding their differences. Having lawyers look at legislative text to try and understand how it would be implemented, where it would be contestable. And have economists and political types and scientists all contributing to is this something that has environmental integrity? Will it be economically efficient? Will it get us what we need out of climate policy, and can we get enough people in support of it that it could plausibly move through Congress? It's not an easy task.
Jason Jacobs: So one question I'm interested in, I think given your seat just from a true false standpoint. Is you've been focused on climate for over a decade, right?
Joseph Majkut: Yeah, yeah. Thereabout. Yeah.
Jason Jacobs: Yeah. That's not the question. So I'm just first just setting the context. So you've been focusing on climate for over a decade. You speak to the right side of the aisle, or I know you speak across, but your primary, where you're investing your energies are primarily focused on the right side of the aisle. I've been seven months deep dive into climate. And from what I can tell so far, if you want to have the biggest impact on climate, at least from a U.S. emission standpoint, the most important thing to me is the 2020 election. Presidential election. Do you agree or disagree with that statement? If you had to pick one single thing.
Joseph Majkut: Short of creating magical technology? I think the 2020 elections is an extremely strong lever. Yes.
Jason Jacobs: And what's confusing to me, right, is that you talk about how there's growing urgency and concern, and willing to talk about climate on the right side of the aisle, right? That's great. Love it. It's about time. There is a president currently in office who is an active denier and who's doing everything in his power to not only to not continue to make progress, but to unwind the progress that's already been made. You're nodding your head, so you agree with that?
Joseph Majkut: Yeah.
Jason Jacobs: Yeah. So my question is if Republicans are truly coming around, why is there still overwhelming support for this president?
Joseph Majkut: So with this president, you can ask that question over a lot of things, right? Thoughts on immigration. In a lot of places where he is for reasons of aesthetics or for his policy preferences, really out of step with what you think of as a characteristic Republican.
Jason Jacobs: But yet they still support them overwhelmingly. This is what I don't understand.
Joseph Majkut: Yeah.
Jason Jacobs: I've asked this before. I haven't gotten any answer that actually explains it.
Joseph Majkut: So this is outside my direct area of expertise, right? The politics department and why politicians take particular stances is always just outside what I spend a lot of my time asking people about. Put it that way. I think not to invert or Dodge your question, but part of your point is actually important and is important to the developments we've seen on climate. Because if you look at the Republican history on climate. In the 2000s, Republican president. You had lots of bipartisan interest in supporting climate policy. Right? In 2008, John McCain and Barack Obama ran with a relatively similar climate platform. And you could make an argument, you have to qualify it. But if John McCain had won the 2008 election, we very might well have had climate policy in the United States for the past five years or so.
Jason Jacobs: I mean, I've heard that from people on the left side of the eye that worked in the Obama administration, on the podcast actually.
Joseph Majkut: Oh really?
Jason Jacobs: Yeah.
Joseph Majkut: Yeah I know. You don't know that for certain because you don't know that Congress would have gone with them. You don't know that the political coalition would have moved along with them. President Obama wins. Climate becomes part of his agenda, both first in Congress and then through regulatory action. It's then the agenda of the opposition president. So in a two party system you just kind of shut down. No, we don't want to do that. That's their thing. Now, what we're seeing with the folks we talked to is because the president is so out of, he's got fringe views on climate. He dismisses it. He's got these hacky jokes about cold weather and hot days. That it creates a lot of political space for people on the right who want to work on this issue but feel trapped in the political system, and it's never been a big enough issue for them to buck their colleagues or try to disturb their political coalition. To start taking steps to do that, because he's so far out. I think making clear that this is an important issue to your legislators is really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really important. There's actually data backing this up.
Joseph Majkut: Members of Congress and their staffs underestimate the degree to which the American population is concerned about climate change. And that statement is true whether they are a Republican's wishy washy on matters of climate change or is disinterested entirely, or a Democratic member of Congress who believes that climate change is warranted, or climate action is warranted. But they underestimate the degree to which the American population is willing to accept action to reduce climate change, which I think means is a good indicator of their receptivity to policy change to achieve climate action.
Joseph Majkut: So I think telling members of Congress, if you're really interested in this issue and there's a variety of ways that people can do that. And if you are of means, you can make political donations, you can go to a town hall and voice your opinion. You can write a letter, you can exercise your power on social media. All that is really important. Because politicians will put the time in where they think they get something for it. And if people aren't using their access to the American political system that we're afforded, then it'll never do what you want it to do.
Joseph Majkut: I think if you're interested in public policymaking, I think the project that Niskanen and our colleagues are working on is probably, is also very important. Because if you take that longterm view, you need to be able to provide solutions that work for lots of people. Now you may not be comfortable working on the right. You work where you can sympathize with the policy concerns, the ideological concerns of the people you're working with. But that doesn't mean that we don't need just warm bodies working on a complex problem regardless of your political valiance. But you find a place where you think that the outlook is agreeable, or worthwhile, or high leverage, and support them in any way you can. Retweet, donate, whatever, go work there.
Joseph Majkut: And I think lastly, I often am asked in public forums what people can do about climate change. And the question is always in terms of cutting back on flying or eating less meat. I think all that stuff is great, but if you're really concerned about this issue, I think you need to take the broadest view of it. If you're a young person, become an engineer. If you're a business person, work on business models that provide value to customers with low carbon emissions. This is such a ubiquitous issue, it's going to require a lot of effort. And it requires effort now. There's plenty of places to have impact.
Jason Jacobs: So if you had a big pot of money, someone came to you and said, "Here's $100 billion. You have to spend it, and it needs to be allocated towards whatever you think is going to maximize its impact on deep decarbonization." Where would you put it? How would you allocate it?
Joseph Majkut: That's a hard question. I don't normally think of it in those terms. You could spend it anywhere?
Jason Jacobs: You could spend it anywhere, but it's got to be towards maximizing its impact on deep decarbonization.
Joseph Majkut: I mean, I think making adjustments to the American political system are important. I think changing financing models for economic development to favor low carbon options in Southeast Asia and Africa are really important. I think energy research and development is really important. I'm going to hedge on how those things should be allocated in terms of proportion, but they're all-
Jason Jacobs: Any specific changes in mind that would be most impactful for the political system?
Joseph Majkut: There's a donate link on the Niskanen center's website. That's always helpful. I think providing-
Jason Jacobs: What changes to the political system would unlock our ability to move faster towards achieving deep decarbonization?
Joseph Majkut: I mean, I think the same one we've been talking about.
Jason Jacobs: The tax?
Joseph Majkut: Yeah. Creating the political conditions that you can have a stable escalating carbon tax in the United States I think is, if you're talking about working in the American political system is the most important thing you can do.
Jason Jacobs: Got it. The reason I asked is that I wasn't sure if it was something about how bills get passed, or something more structurally versus the carbon policy specific.
Joseph Majkut: Yeah. No, I think achieving a carbon price is, my answer is going to be that because that's where I've chosen to place my time. So there's a bit of a bias probably in my answer. But I think that's probably one of the most important things we can be doing.
Jason Jacobs: Anything I didn't ask that I should have or any parting words for our listeners?
Joseph Majkut: No, I don't think so. I'm very happy to have been here. I think you're working on an exciting project. Excellent questions. If you're interested in the Niskanen Center and the work we've done, our website is niskanencenter.com, N-I-S-K-A-N-E-N. You can follow me on Twitter @JosephMajkut. And if you want to engage with these ideas, support or critique our work, I'm more than happy to engage in conversation.
Jason Jacobs: Joseph, you've been a good sport and a great guest. So thanks so much for coming on the show.
Joseph Majkut: Thank you for having me. All the best. Hey everyone. Jason here. Thanks again for joining me on My Climate Journey. If you'd like to learn more about the journey, you can visit us at myclimatejourney.co. Note that is .co, not .com. Someday, we'll get the .com. But right now, .co. You can also find me on Twitter at @jjacobs22, where I would encourage you to share your feedback on the episode or suggestions for future guests you'd like to hear. And before I let you go, if you enjoyed the show, please share an episode with a friend or consider leaving a review on iTunes. The lawyers made me say that. Thank you.