Who is responsible for Pollution?
In most countries the government is the largest beneficiary of pollution.
- It derives income from companies and individuals that pollute
- It owns organisations that pollute
- It gets votes and funds from polluters
It is therefore very difficult for the Government to stop pollution which it relies on.
No pollution can occur without the governments sanction, and when it does pollute, who is going to make it clean up?
Government has to be as responsible for its actions as anyone else.
By turning to government for environmental protection, we've placed the fox in charge of the hen house.
Ownership as a solution
Obviously, owners make better environmental guardians than renters, when resources are owned by no-one (the government) they are not cared for properly.
Indeed, ownership of wildlife can literally save endangered species from extinction. Between 1979 and 1989, Kenya banned elephant hunting, yet the number of these noble beasts dropped from 65,000 to 19,000. In Zimbabwe during the same time period, however, elephants could be legally owned and sold. The number of elephants increased from 30,000 to 43,000 as their owners became fiercely protective of their "property." Poachers didn't have a chance!
We never worry about cattle becoming extinct, because their status as valuable "property" encourages their propagation.
The Stern Report described climate change as, “the greatest case of market failure” the world has seen. In fact the market has not failed – there is no market at all.
There is no market in war, either, which some think more devastating then climate change. Markets deal with transactions, not with human behaviour in general. Where there are no exchanges, there are no markets.
The following have no price on them
- Ocean fish stocks
There are few restraints on their use.
"Property rights incentivise private owners to use resources in ways that benefit others. In markets, a profit indicates that property owners have used their resources in a manner which is pleasing to consumers."
"Secondly, private owners have an incentive to care for and manage their property. This is because property rights internalise the benefits and costs of the behaviour of owners. "
"Finally, property owners have an incentive to consider the long-term consequences of their actions. Owners have the right to future cash-flows associated with their property. This incentivises owners to ensure that their resources are sustainable. "
Environment and the market
Markets are only a tool
Markets are NOT to blame for environmental destruction overseas or at home. Example: China does what it does because of the trade off value it sees. They destroy the environment because they value the industrialization. It's a trade off. They sell the health of their land for industrial prosperity. It's a way of showing what they value more. Markets are simply the MECHANISM to accomplish this, they're not the cause. People's desires are the cause... and they ain't going away soon.
Capitalism is good for the environment
Contrary to popular opinion, markets and the environment are not at odds with one another. Capitalism saves environments! You've got to make sure there are more trees around if you're in the paper or lumber industry... otherwise you're soon to go out of business! China killed it's panda's under communism, now they're saving them in their move towards capitalism... because they're cute and we all want to pay money to see them, feed them, and hold them! The Pandas, that is, not necessarily the Chinese people.
"More generally, the innovation that arises in a free economy yields numerous benefits.
It leads to less waste because there is an incentive to economise on resource use to cut the cost of production. Consider, for example, the traditional drinks can which is made from aluminum. The first generation of cans, introduced over a half century ago, weighed three ounces each; current cans weigh approximately one ounce. "
"The absence of property rights leads to environmental harms, since private actors lack the incentive to take into account the full cost of their behaviours. Many environmental problems can be addressed by defining or clarifying property rights."
Why markets are good for the environment - the four P’s: Pricing, Property Rights, Prosperity, and Private Initiative.
Summary of David Seymours article
Some greens like to set pricing for electricity retailers to buy back solar power. If the price is high, retailers will leave the industry, if too low then individuals producing solar panels won't bother. Price setting discourages the very thing the greens are trying to promote.
Fuel duty taxes for when a vehicle is being used. But not when a vehicle is being used. This causes problems when there is congestion.
Water can also be priced incorrectly, free or otherwise, leading to over consumption. Tradeable water rights would make more sense.
Prices imply a property right, either to own something or to have the right to use it. Pricing and property rights go together.
It’s no surprise that the pollution is in the things nobody owns, the air and the water. With no owner there’s nobody saying ‘don’t put that there.’ Strong property rights are critical to strong environmental custodianship.
The next P is prosperity. If you get the prices right; if you allow tradeable rights; then you get better resource use. Using resources better, more effectively, more productively, is the key to prosperity.
It is prosperous nations that look after the environment best. They can afford it.
Poorer nations live with massive air pollution – eg London smog in the 19th century, Beijing today. But as countries get wealthier they devote more resources to a cleaner environment.
It’s the opposite of the rhetoric you hear from the Green Party. They want to subsidise so-called green jobs, the green economy.
But using more resources to produce the same amount, or even less, is throwing productivity growth into reverse. It’s a recipe for getting poorer.
For too long we have accepted a subtle assumption on the environment: Government good, private bad. Nothing could be further from the truth.
All over this country people volunteer to trap, plant, and clean up pests, native trees and beaches.
- Fish quotas can be set and then traded, giving the buyer ownership of the fish and an incentive to conserve them.
- Tradeable emission permits can discourage emission by raising the price of doing it. They raise production costs to those who emit more, and reward efficient, cleaner producers.
Markets can be used to promote the development of clean technologies by giving them a price advantage, encouraging people to produce more cleanly by making it more attractive financially to do so. Markets can protect the environment if they're properly introduced.
The final solution
If as the dark greens insist, the origin of the ecological crisis lies in materialism, consumerism and a fixation with economic growth, the solution lies with 'zero growth'.
- "In olden days nuisance cases were environment cases. Now public good has overridden these cases, hence we don't have people protecting their property in the same way. The govt has taken away the incentive to not pollute-comission"
- Not assigning property rights means users of land not to look at the quaity of the land when thye finish.
- When people own something they take care of it.