While leafing through George Lakoff's new book, The Political Mind: Why You Can't Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain, I was quite happily surprised to discover that an entire chapter was devoted to promoting Peter Barnes's idea of a "Sky Trust" as a means for fighting air pollution.
So, what exactly is a Sky Trust? Peter Barnes (entrepreneur of Working Assets fame) has been promoting the idea of trusteeship as a way of managing common natural resources for quite a while now, including in his excellent 2006 book Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons (read it online right now!) It's hard to imagine dividing up an atmosphere into conventional units of private property, but by creating a private, non-for-profit trusteeship that "owns" the entire atmosphere over an area, giving everybody in the area a non-transferable share in ownership and charging those who pollute or damage the air (and redistributing the revenues to the participants), the economic value of the air can be dealt with in a way that discourages pollution and abuse while also preserving the integrity of the common resource. All of this works in a manner similar to the Alaska Permanent Fund, or the single tax of Henry George, in a way that is consistent with market principles.
As global warming becomes a major issue, finding a way to deal with air pollution becomes an ever more urgent matter, and the sky trust is a rigorous yet simple way out. And it's not hard to see why liberals would find it appealing. Perhaps surprisingly, however, Lakoff also finds the means as well as the end congenial, in fact specifically stating that the sky trust is desirable because it maximizes the use of market principles and encourages entrepreneurship (to the point where even babies are participating, since everyone gets dividends from birth on) while minimizing the role of government and thus being immune to lobbying, and being administratively simple without creating the sort of bureaucracy spawned by regulatory administration.