When it comes to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, the inability of governments to make long-term plans is perhaps the most crucial obstacle. Elections come every few years in Western democracies, where much of humanity’s emissions occur. Any politician who implements long-term reform will pay a price at the ballot box as soon as the reform begins to cause economic pain. And that politician won’t be around to see any political benefit when the reform bears fruit. Meanwhile, the state-capitalist regimes of East Asia, the planet’s other big carbon emitters, rely on consistent economic growth to perpetuate their authority. They don’t make structural economic changes easily either. With short-term thinking dominating politics in countries with the highest emissions, meaningful regulatory efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions—such as a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax—are rare.