Environmental Law & Economics: June 2008

Radovan Kazda
Environmental Policy Analyst
Conservative Institute of M. R. Stefanik

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Greenest (Stupid) Show on Earth: Democratic National Convention

By Stephanie Simon, The Wall Street Journal (link)
The Great Democratic Final in green coat. Excellent paper on democratic green machinery.
Convention organizers hired the first-ever Director of Greening, longtime environmental activist Andrea Robinson. Her response to the mayor's challenge: "That terrifies me!"
After all, the last time Democrats met in Denver -- to nominate William Jennings Bryan in 1908 -- they dispatched horse-drawn wagons to bring snow from the Rocky Mountains to cool the meeting hall. Ms. Robinson suspected modern-day delegates would prefer air conditioning. So she quickly modified the mayor's goal: She'd supervise "the most sustainable political convention in modern American history."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Common Agricultural Policy: A wonderful world of social democracy

By Radovan Kazda, blog.sme.sk (link in slovak)

Who is the enemy of european farmers? Marginal right political parties or Emanuel Goldstein? European Commission will explain it to you. And the deliquent is: free market.
Let me quote what Commission means about free market in agriculture:
It is certainly not the time to abolish the CAP, as some have suggested. The market has a very important role to play, but left to itself, it will not care for our landscapes or respond to other public demands. And if we strip farming of all defences against occasional crises, we gamble with our food supply.

Read Press Release MEMO/08/422, June 20, 2008 (link).

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Tribute to George Carlin (1937-2008)

By Radovan Kazda
George Carlin (alias Filmore from the best modern fairy-tale recent times) speaks about that why we are here.

Carlin's show "The Planet is fine" read here and here.

George Carlin - Saving the Planet (The Planet Is Fine)

Conservative view on carbon taxes - debate

Jim Manzi, TheAmericanScene.com (link)
- Ryan Avent at gristmill.grist.org (link)
- Daniel Hall at CommonTragedies.wordpress.com (link)

Ronald Coase on Pigovian Taxes

Jim Manzi, TheAmericanScene.com (link)
Ronald Coase’s lecture upon receiving the Nobel Prize in economics is very instructive. When discussing one of the two papers for which he won the award, The Problem of Social Cost, he had this to say:
I was exposing the weaknesses of Pigou’s analysis of the divergence between private and social products, an analysis generally accepted by economists, and that was all. … Pigou’s conclusion and that of most economists using standard economic theory was, and perhaps still is, that some kind of government action (usually the imposition of taxes) was required to restrain those whose actions had harmful effects on others, often termed negative externalities. What I showed in that article, as I thought, was that in a regime of zero transaction costs, an assumption of standard economic theory, negotiations between the parties would lead to those arrangements being made which would maximise wealth and this irrespective of the initial assignment of rights. … I tend to regard the Coase Theorem as a stepping stone on the way to an analysis of an economy with positive transaction costs. The significance to me of the Coase Theorem is that it undermines the Pigovian system. Since standard economic theory assumes transaction costs to be zero, the Coase Theorem demonstrates that the Pigovian solutions are unnecessary in these circumstances. Of course, it does not imply, when transaction costs are positive, that government actions (such as government operation, regulation or taxation, including subsidies) could not produce a better result than relying on negotiations between individuals in the market. Whether this would be so could be discovered not by studying imaginary governments but what real governments actually do. My conclusion; let us study the world of positive transaction costs.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Economics, environmentalism and price system

Arnold Kling, Econlog.Econlib.org (link)
"Economics and environmentalism both value efficiency and decry waste. Economics assumes that the price system works to measure and motivate efficient use of resources. Environmentalism assumes that the price system fails.
An alliance between environmentalism and economics is possible, in which the environmentalist argument becomes an argument that price signals are incorrect. In principle, taxes should be raised on products whose market cost does not reflect the resources that are used in their production and disposal."

The Waste of Nations

By Gordon Hector, Adam Smith Institute, AdamSmith.org (link)
How to recycle with Pay–as–you–throw (PAYT) systems?
© Adam Smith Research Trust 2007 ; Published in the UK by ASI (Research) Ltd.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Global Warming Economics - Facts vs. Myths

By Iain Murray, Competitive Enterprise Institute, cei.org (link)
Did you know that i) signatories to the Kyoto Protocol are not meeting their emissions reductions targets, ii) temperatures does not rise in tandem with greenhouse gas concentrations, iii) the costs of global warming policies can be feasibly borne, and may even pay for themselves in the long run, and iv) experience shows that cap-and-trade schemes can achieve good environmental outcomes by harnessing market incentives? A new study debunking myths over global warming.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Global warming is a dangerous religion

By John Brignell, numberwatch.co.uk, (link)
Global Warming has become the core belief in a new eco-theology. The term is used as shorthand for anthropogenic (or man made) global warming. It is closely related to other modern belief systems, such as political correctness, chemophobia and various other forms of scaremongering, but it represents the vanguard in the assault on scientific man. The activists now prefer to call it “climate change”.
This gives them two advantages: It allows them to seize as “evidence” the inevitable occurrences of unusually cold weather as well as warm ones; the climate is always changing, so they must be right.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Time to recycle recycling?

By Iain Murray, The Washington Times, washtimes.com (link)
Many of the other features of traditional environmentalism are actually at odds with global warming. Nuclear power is perhaps the best source of low carbon electricity. Genetically modified organisms can dramatically lower the energy needed to grow crops. And in fact, striking at the base of institutionalized environmentalism, it appears recycling can produce more carbon than new manufacture.
Al Gore and many other environmentalists may not appreciate is that recycling paper is actually a carbon positive process.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Environmental Myths Harm Our Planet

By Hans Bader, OpenMarket.org (link)
Locally-grown and produced food isn’t necessarily better for the environment, or more economical for society, than food produced elsewhere. It often costs more and results in more soil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions. It’s better for the environment for an Englishman to eat lamb raised in New Zealand than lamb raised in England.

Environmentalists Take Advantage of Natural Disaster - Blame Midwest Floods on Global Warming

By Joseph D’Aleo, Icecap.us (link)
In the latest in a series of predictable news stories gobbled up by an all too willing media, an environmental group Clean Wisconsin today claimed that the disastrous floods that ravaged southern Wisconsin this week are consistent with global warming predictions in the January 2007 Clean Wisconsin report. The report, “Global Warming Arrives in Wisconsin,” forecast that global warming would lead to increased instances of severe droughts, more intense floods and increased snowfall.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Carbon: Tax, Trade, or Deregulate?

Lynne Kiesling, Ronald Bailey and Fred L. Smith debate on climate policy, Reason.com (link)
"From an economic perspective, the problem of climate change is twofold. First, there are incomplete and uncertain property rights in the air. It’s ludicrous to imagine us each walking around with a bubble over our heads so that we can only breathe and use the privatized air sphere around us. Second, there’s a large number of affected parties. In the limit, some would argue the entire planet is affected."

Saturday, June 07, 2008

In praise of carbon dioxide

By Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post Comment (link).
With less heat and less carbon dioxide, the planet could become less hospitable and less green.

Friday, June 06, 2008

It's the food, stupid

By Ezra Klein, The American Prospect, prospect.org (link)
The average American household burns through about 8.1 metric tons of greenhouse gases as a result of food consumption. By contrast, if your house has a car that gets 25 mpg and you drive 12,000 miles a year, that produces 4.4 metric tons of greenhouse gases.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

FME Newsletter, No. 10: Structure of U.S. oil consumption, biofuels, Vaclav Klaus

By Radovan Kazda, blog.sme.sk (link)
1.) To the fans of the theory, that U.S. unleashed Iraq war because of oil, it is needed to remind that while U.S. import takes to 60% of its oil needs, a half of that is imported from Western hemisféry. Arab oil takes only 16% share, what is even less than imports from Africa. Official U.S. energy statistics inform. (link)
2.) By the way, biofuels. Food crises belongs to one of the few preferred policy theme, on those experts relatively consist: vigorous demand for food-stuff in China and Indies, drought down under, growth sickness absence beast, support biofuels, continens price and administration regulations adjustment. It says also famed economist Gary Becker on his blog, kept with Richard Posner.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Carbon Taxes vs Cap-and-Trade

By Mark Thoma, Economist's View (link)
"A review of the equivalence of carbon taxes and cap-and-trade."