In The New York Times, Paul Krugman identifies Gore Derangement Syndrome -- conservatives who can't stand Al Gore because he has proven to be so right on the major issues of the day -- most notably, climate change and the war in Iraq. Gore has of course been vindicated by winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
Krugman quotes Franklin Roosevelt's second inaugural address, in which he spoke of the need to place "practical controls over blind economic forces and blindly selfish men."
"We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals," Roosevelt told the country. "We know now that it is bad economics. Out of the collapse of a prosperity whose builders boasted their practicality has come the conviction that in the long run, economic morality pays."
Krugman points out that if governments do not take any responsibility for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, disaster will ensue. "Leave it up to the free market, and in a few generations Florida will be underwater. The solution to such conflicts between self-interest and the common good is to provide individuals with an incentive to do the right thing. In this case, people have to be given a reason to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, either by requiring that they pay a tax on emissions or by requiring that they buy emission permits, which has pretty much the same effects as an emissions tax. We know that such policies work: the U.S. 'cap and trade' system of emission permits on sulfur dioxide has been highly successful at reducing acid rain."