Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Free Market Environmentalism

I have advocated for the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency and its supporting legislation. Why? The EPA epitomizes Soviet-style central planning. Its approach to environmental problems ia a form of tyranny that kills jobs and destroys the environment globally by exporting pollution.

In a review of a global warming book, economist Walter Block explains,
Let us make a few heroic assumptions. Anthropogenic global warming, due to greenhouse-gas emissions, is a fact. Sunspots, etc., are not responsible. There is an ideal world temperature, such that man's actions will either exceed it, or fall below it, and that this will be harmful on net balance, not beneficial.

On this basis, Baer et al. consider two approaches to addressing this danger: first, "assign obligations to the industrialized countries on the basis of both their ability to pay (wealth) and their responsibility for the majority of prior emissions, or, second, to assign emissions rights on a (possibly modified) equal per capita basis."

But, they ignore a third, which is far more justified than either of those. For, given our assumptions, emitting gas constitutes, in effect, a trespass. And what, pray tell, does "equity" have to say about uninvited border crossings? It is simple: the perpetrators of these property-rights violations, and only the perpetrators, must be brought to the bar of justice. I agree with their emphasis on individuals, not groups, but equity requires that we should ignore ability to pay as a criterion for fines. Rather, the guilty should pay, and not the innocent, just as in the case for ordinary trespass.
The EPA approach is for the relatively innocent to pay, because they can bully the innocent (or, relatively innocent).

Who are the guilty? Third world (sorry, developing? Uh, I'm not sure the current politically correct euphemism) countries, mostly.

The excessive EPA regulations in this country contribute to high production costs. what does a rational company do? Import from cheaper sources abroad. That is how we export our pollution.

Walter Block is an interesting guy.

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