Posts Tagged ‘environment’

(Post updated)

The Food Climate Research Network says that in future, governments will have to force people to eat climate-friendly foods in order to save the planet. For instance, meat will have to rationed, and consumption of treats such as alcohol and chocolates reduced drastically. They advocate such drastic measures citing evidence that voluntary measures will not work in a crisis.

Even assuming that the science they base their climatological claims on is accurate, have these people ever heard of a cost-benefit analysis? Or maybe they don’t really think this kind of extreme authoritarianism is such a bad thing.

Given a choice between two future worlds, one where sea-levels rise by a few feet over the next hundred years and another where mankind goes back to the prehistoric eras in their standard of living and political systems, I’d choose the former.

The best solutions to global problems, whether it is the environment or the economy, must invoke reason rather than fear, science rather than faith, markets rather than collectivism and take place in a political climate of freedom and entrepreneurship, not one of authoritarianism. Unfortunately, many of the measures advocated by extreme environmentalists are fundamentally anti-progress and anti-freedom and do not deserve a second glance.

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I confess that I am split on the issue of domestic US drilling for oil in areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife refuge. Currently there is a moratorium on drilling in such regions out of environmental and wildlife conservation concerns, which I strongly sympathize with. Nonetheless, as this article points out, the net effect on the environment due to the ban on such domestic drilling might well be negative.

I’d love to see a more extensive study of the matter.

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This is a voluntary fee. No one has to pay it. You only have to pay it if you choose not to use reusable bags.

— Seattle city council president Richard Conlin, who worked with Mayor Greg Nickels on the proposal to levy a 20 cent tax on shoppers at grocery, drug, and convenience stores for each paper or plastic bag they use.

Hat tip: Jacob Sullum, who points out that by the same reasoning, income tax, sales tax, tobacco tax and property tax are all ‘voluntary’.

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One of the rare economic issues in which I support Obama’s stance. A gas tax-holiday, at this stage, is little more than a populist gimmick. It is bad fiscal policy, bad energy policy, bad environmental policy and — as previous experience shows — will do little to provide consumer relief.

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Virginia Postrel writes in the dynamist blog:

It’s infuriating how all three presidential candidates prattle on about the need to fight global warming while also complaining about the high price of gasoline. The candidates treat CO2 emissions as a social issue like gay marriage, with no economic ramifications. In the real world, barring a massive buildup of nuclear plants, reducing carbon dioxide emissions means consuming less energy and that means raising prices a lot, either directly with a tax or indirectly with a cap-and-trade permitting system. (Alternatively, the government could just ration energy, but fortunately we aren’t going in that direction.) The last thing you’d want to do is reduce gas taxes during the summer, as John McCain has proposed. That would just encourage people to burn more gas on extra vacation trips–as any straight talker would admit.

Here’s the link to the full post.  Also you can read Stephen Postrel’s analysis (linked from Virginia Postrel’s post as well) of carbon tax vs. permit economics here.

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