Thursday, March 01, 2007

Conservative Policies Towards the Environment

Fire of Liberty

As someone who has a menagerie of animals and prefers to living in a rural community, I have to say that I'm pro-environment. Now I'm all for keeping the environment clean, preserving nature and seeking alternative energy but unlike the Greens, I'm abhorred at the mere thought of the government imposing regulations on our industries that will do nothing but kill our economy while letting "developing" countries like China and India go willy-nilly. After reading this op/ed in the Washington Post by Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina and seeing how the game was in the bag for Al Gore at the Oscars(Not to mention the MSM fawning of Global Warming hysteria), I figured folks would like to see conservative policies towards the environment. Now while I don't have time to go into a extensive plan(Unlike Governor Sanford and Newt Gingrich, who is working on a environmental book, and various free-market friendly academics) I figured you'd find this piece in National Review Online by Johnathan H. Alder very interesting and insightful on the critique of Gov. Sanford and how the Right can effectively approach issues on the environment. Here's a sample of Alder's fine piece:
Focusing on the question of climate change, Governor Sanford argued conservatives should push “innovation, no regulation.” This is nice rhetoric, but the devil remains in the details. According to Sanford, this means, among other things, “encouraging . . . implementation of more eco-friendly construction, more energy-efficient workplaces and more sustainable ways of going about life.” These are all things government has sought to do for years, largely through the various sorts of mandates and regulations Sanford purportedly rejects. If he really means to call for a new approach, such as by encouraging innovation by removing regulatory barriers and government obstacles to new technologies, he needs to spell it out to demonstrate his agenda is more than business-friendly, green-lite. If conservatives wish to get serious about the issue of climate change they need to do more than embrace the agenda of green business interests or defend the status quo. They need a positive agenda that both recognizes the risks of climate change, but also the risks of ill-conceived climate change policies. Rushing headlong toward costly emission caps is as bad an idea as burying one’s head in the sand.

A list of specific policy proposals a conservative could endorse in good conscience would include the following: End government policies that subsidize inefficient energy and resource use; End government programs that encourage excess energy use and subsidize vulnerable development; Encourage innovation by removing barriers to technological development and deployment; Replace market-distorting subsidies with prizes for specific types of major innovations; Create international institutions that can facilitate technology proliferation to encourage less carbon-intensive economic development in poorer nations. More controversially, it may be time to consider replacing some taxes on income and wealth generation with taxes on energy use or emissions from fossil fuels. So long as such a tax shift does not increase the overall tax burden on the economy — and this is an essential condition — it could encourage innovation and conservation without costly mandates or wasteful subsidies.

Governor Sanford is to be commended for engaging the environmental debate, and recognizing the need for a principled conservative alternative to the statist quo policies of the environmental Left. If he is serious, however, he needs to get beyond pleasant rhetoric and convenient platitudes about “conservative conservationism.” His entrance into the environmental debate is welcome, and let’s hope others follow. If Governor Sanford endeavors to be a leader on this issue, he will need to outline a more concrete conservative environmental agenda.
While I'm not on the same page as the Governor or with Adler, it still beats the economy killing policies of Al Gore. Then again, most people can't afford to pay the $30,000 on utilities like Mr. Gore.

1 comment:

shliknik said...

Good read.

I agree w/ most he said. I'm 'pro-environment' and like you - grew up in rural GA.

Nothing is better to me than getting lost in the woods w/ nothing but the wind blowing....

BUT I'm not an environmental nut. Innovation is the way to go.