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Johnson Distinguished Visitor Barry Rabe ’79 presents ‘Can We Price Carbon?’

Time: 7:00pm CDT April 10

Location: Todd Wehr Center, Jockey A and B

Barry Rabe’79, a noted scholar in the political economy of climate change, will return to Carthage in April to present research findings from his newly published book, “Can We Price Carbon?”

Highlighting his visit is a free public presentation at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, in the Todd Wehr Center. Sponsored by the Sam and Gene Johnson Distinguished Visitors Program, this is his first talk since the book’s release in late February.

“From our 80-acre campus arboretum to our exclusive use of green cleaning products, Carthage has worked hard to reduce its environmental footprint,” said Carthage president John Swallow. “This timely presentation by one of our prominent alumni will help us to understand the broader picture.”

At the University of Michigan, Prof. Rabe teaches public policy and environmental policy while directing the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy. He’s also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a nonpartisan think tank, and journalists regularly interview him about environmental topics.

His book draws on a series of attempts to price carbon over the last two decades in North America, Europe, and Asia. Prof. Rabe offers the first major political science analysis of the sustainability of carbon tax and cap-and-trade policies.

While economists generally agree the most effective way to address climate change is through some form of financial penalty for carbon emissions, he acknowledges that political barriers often hold back such legislation. Taught at Carthage to seek out “exceptional cases that might offer a different path,” the undergraduate history and urban studies major decided to take a closer look.

Prof. Rabe’s expansive study uncovered examples of policies that greatly reduced emissions without damaging the economy.

“Perhaps if we learn from those, we might increase our prospects of developing a more promising policy strategy over time,” he said.

Married to a fellow Carthage graduate, the Rev. Dana Runestad ’80, Prof. Rabe received the College’s Distinguished Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

He went on to earn a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago before entering academia. The winner of three major teaching awards, Prof. Rabe holds an Arthur F. Thurnau professorship —the highest honor the University of Michigan conveys for excellence and innovation in undergraduate education.

In September, the American Political Science Association presented him the Martha Derthick Best Book Award for a previous book, titled “Statehouse and Greenhouse: The Emerging Politics of American Climate Change Policy.”

Prof. Rabe has served on many advisory boards. As an elected fellow with the National Academy of Public Administration, he has helped to advise federal and state agencies on offshore drilling and regulatory affairs.

Also scheduled during the Johnson Distinguished Visitor’s three days on campus is an interdisciplinary tour of Carthage courses — political science, economics, and environmental science — and meetings with environmental advocates.

There’s no need to register for the public presentation. A reception will follow.

For more information, contact Mardell Fisher in the Office of Institutional Advancement at or 262-551-2137.

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  • Barry Rabe '79
    Barry Rabe '79

Location: Todd Wehr Center, Jockey A and B