Richard Epstein At Hoover: ‘Scott Pruitt And The Environment’

Full piece here.

‘The current law is equally defective in its choice of remedies in the event of pollution. Everyone agrees that polluters should ordinarily be required to pay for the damage they cause to both public and private property, as was long required under the common law. But one key element in the private law equation was to wait until the potential nuisance was imminent or actual before issuing an injunction. The EPA does not worry about these limitations in the exercise of its enormous permit power, but requires the proponents of any new project to run a huge regulatory gauntlet that consumes years and many millions of dollars before anything can be done.

As previously posted:

Ron Bailey at Reason on Obama’s trip to Alaska:

‘In other words, whatever benefits the administration’s convoluted energy and emissions regulations may provide, they are costing American consumers and industry three times more than would a comparable carbon tax. Talk about negative impacts!’

I think this comment gets to the heart of what some folks are likely thinking:

‘Look, if we can model the economy, we can model the climate.’

YOU should feel guilty about the poor, the downtrodden, and the global victims of industrial activity. WE should ‘re-wild’ nature and bring it to a state it achieved before man came and despoiled it. Humans have the power to shape their world, but only if they follow the right ideals and the right knowledge, as well as perhaps feeling the guilt and commitment and passion that come with those ideals. WE should aim for a simpler, collective life, and feel ’empathy’ with everyone (oft times the noble savage) around the globe.

—————–

To be fair, we don’t often see genuine socialists out in public in the United States pushing green causes, but there’s more than a little anti-corporate, anti-industrial activism that often finds expression within environmental movements. This activism can make its way into laws, and forms a major plank in the Democratic party platform nationally.

Whatever your thoughts on the natural world and conservation, I think it’s fair to say that from cartoons to schools to movies, there’s also been remarkable popular success in making environmental activism mainstream conventional wisdom; easy, cool and fun to join.

Rarely though, is there much discussion of the costs environmental laws can impose on private landowners and consumers (not just big real-estate developers and industrial interests) through compliance with the laws and higher prices. Supporters of environmental causes don’t often connect the dots between their interests and the potential for bureaucratic waste and mismanagement, nor the downright twisted incentives that can result for citizens, lawmakers and even budding scientists looking for grant money.

As we see in California, I think once you get enough public sentiment believing in the basic tenets of green thinking, then climate science, whatever its merits, often becomes a sideshow, while politics and money can become the main event.

***I think Monbiot was on much more stable ground when he appealed to J.S. Mill’s harm principle regarding people harmed by industrial activity. Sometimes people in industries just don’t care about some of the consequences of their actions, and legal recourse can be hard to come by for those without money or connections. There have been beneficial consequences to individuals’ health and to those parts of nature sought to be conserved…but again…at what cost?

It seems worth continually discussing.

From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’…

——————-

Related On This Site: A Wolf In Wolf’s Clothing?-’Rewilding’ And Ecological Balance

Repost-From The American Spectator: ‘Environmentalism and the Leisure Class’

A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”From The Boston Review: ‘Libertarianism And Liberty: How Not To Argue For Limited Government And Lower Taxes’From Slate: ‘The Liberty Scam-Why Even Robert Nozick, The Philosophical Father Of Libertarianism, Gave Up On The Movement He Inspired.’

Is it actual Nature, or a deep debate about civilization and morality, man and nature that fuels this Western debate: ….Roger Sandall At The New Criterion Via The A & L Daily: ‘Aboriginal Sin’Roger Sandall At The American Interest: ‘Tribal Realism’Karl Popper’s metaphysical theory: Falsifiability

Did Jared Diamond get attacked for not being romantic enough…or just for potential hubris?: Was he acting as a journalist in Papua New-Guinea?: From The Chronicle Of Higher Education: Jared Diamond’s Lawsuit

Instead of global green governance, what about a World Leviathan…food for thought, and a little frightening: At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas Hobbes

Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’A Few Links On Environmentalism And Liberty

Ron Bailey At Reason: ‘Obama’s Corn Ethanol Environmental Disaster’

Full piece here.

Linking to this piece from the AP.

Bailey visited an ethanol plant in South Dakota previously.

Picking winners and losers adds to the large subsidy programs we have, by redirecting tax dollars to favored industries chosen by politicians in power.   We don’t necessarily ‘help the environment’ or do so at great cost, and in this case help create downstream negative consequences for the world’s poor by driving up food prices.

Related On This SiteWalter Russell Mead At The American Interest: ‘The Failure of Al Gore Part Three: Singing the Climate Blues’

On this site, follow the money: Amy Payne At The Foundry: ‘Morning Bell: Obama Administration Buries Good News on Keystone Pipeline’

Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’A Few Links On Environmentalism And LibertyFrom The WSJ-A Heated Exchange: Al Gore Confronts His Critics…From The Literary Review–Weather Channel Green Ideology: Founder John Coleman Upset….The Weather Channel’s Green Blog: A Little Too GreenFrom The Washington Post: The Weather Channel’s Forecast Earth Team Fired

Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘A 16 Year Pause In Global Warming?’

Full post here.

Yet:

‘Late last year, a study by Grant Foster (for those in the know, Grant is the climate blogger Tamino) and Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research analyzed temperature data from 1979 to 2010 taking into account the effects of El Ninos, volcanoes, solar variation and found a consistent upward temperature trend of +0.014 per year.’

I’d say to the skeptics, keep an open mind.  I’d say to the scientists and physicists thinking about this:  there are hordes of people who are signing on to your research because of political, politically philosophical, and various other reasons that will drive social and economic change the way they want it to go.  You may be useful to them, for a while.

Addition:  I should add that I recognize a Burkean defense of tradition, stretching across time, and maintaining a robust functioning of our institutions and political freedoms by people entering into arrangements more freely, may be at odds with climate change which requires subsequent changes in our economy, politics, and institutions, often from the top down.   I think this naturally appeals to many modern liberals, some of whom are turning climate change into political opportunism, a cause celebre etc.  Many such people want social change anyways, and will appeal to climate data to implement more equality through a regulated economy, or use this research to steer education and popular sentiment toward their preferred ideals for running our institutions.  For some, its a mere cap upon a desire for greater power and political influence.

For many on the other side, a reasoned skepticism of climate research is not head-in-the-sand ignorance (though it can be), but often a conservative approach to change, what we see as continued maintenance of our political and social institutions as well as a healthy skepticism of the demands being made to change them drastically, according to climate research.  There are ideas, and perhaps, actual natural processes unfolding outside of the scope of current climate research (the typical skeptics’ approach, I grant, and a metaphysical discussion which presents a much more difficult challenge I certainly haven’t met here).  You don’t throw climate research out wholesale, and you don’t sign on blindly.  You try and keep an open mind.

My two cents.

Related On This SiteJonathan Adler At The Atlantic: ‘A Conservative’s Approach to Combating Climate Change’ …Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’A Few Links On Environmentalism And Liberty

From Chris Colose: Lindzen On Climate Feedback

From The Access Resource Network: Phillip Johnson’s “Daniel Dennett’s Dangerous Idea’…I don’t think Dinesh D’Souza is up to the job:  Repost-Dinesh D’Souza And Daniel Dennett at Tufts University: Nietzsche’s Prophesy

From Edge: ‘Re: What Makes People Republican? By Jonathan Haidt’…Evolutionary psychology and moral thinking: Franz De Waal At The NY Times 10/17/10: ‘Morals Without God?’

From Darwinian Conservatism By Larry Arnhart: “Surfing Strauss’s Third Wave of Modernity”

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Ronald Bailey At Reason: “The Paradox Of Energy Efficiency”

Full piece here.

‘These are all examples of the energy rebound effect where increased energy efficiency is offset by increases in energy use because increased fuel efficiency lowers the relative cost of consumption’

Related On This Site:  Jonathan Adler At The Atlantic: ‘A Conservative’s Approach to Combating Climate Change’ Monbiot invokes Isaiah Berlin and attacks libertarians:  From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”

Instead of global green governance, what about a World Leviathan…food for thought, and a little frightening…there are other sources rather than Hobbes: At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas Hobbes

Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’A Few Links On Environmentalism And Liberty

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Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Rio +20 Earth Summit: Is Sustainable Development Still Sexy? ‘

Full piece here.

Bailey will go to Rio +20 and be reporting from the summit:

‘According to the U.N., the Future We Want is the Green Economy. However, a sizeable percentage of environmental activists going to the conference believe that the Green Economy is merely more corporate capitalism in green-face.’

Biting the hand which they have trained to feed…

I imagine the large bureaucratic structure required to deliver such “sustainable” goals might decide there needs to be more bureaucracy and more summits.  Of course, it too will have to meet up with the private sector eventually (mining, natural resources, oil, manufacturing in many countries fortunate enough to be developing) if only through taxation and regulation.

For some activists this [is] too much collusion with the capitalist enemy (too often crony capitalist as Bailey points out, which is another outcome of their influence on capital markets..not that capital markets are perfect…they’re just being tied to many activists with a Left-Of Center political philosophy to which these summits are a but a vehicle).

An equal, fair, naturally balanced world awaits…

Update: As a reader writes, there’s only so far the libertarian model goes here…many mines are nationalized, and most natural resources controlled by whomever is in charge for the time being.  Still, aside from the science, the interest of many Leftists (and beneath them outright communists in some cases) has loosely affiliated its goals with attaching itself to climate science and the new secular doomsday scenario.

Update:   Bailey writes here:

Consider paragraph 40, which reads: “We call for holistic and integrated approaches to sustainable development which will guide humanity to live in harmony with nature and lead to efforts to restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem.” What can that possibly mean?

 

Related On This Site:  Well, maybe not: Jonathan Adler At The Atlantic: ‘A Conservative’s Approach to Combating Climate Change’ Monbiot invokes Isaiah Berlin and attacks libertarians:  From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”

Instead of global green governance, what about a World Leviathan…food for thought, and a little frightening: At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas Hobbes

Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’A Few Links On Environmentalism And Liberty

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Ronald Bailey At Reason’s Hit And Run Blog: ‘Among the Nonbelievers’

Full piece here.

Good journalism, and thorough:

‘I participated as the token libertarian on a panel discussion that asked, “Does Secular Humanism Have A Political Agenda?”‘

and

‘The 130 activist atheists and secular humanists at the conference were split pretty evenly between conference staple grey-hairs and students; the sorts of people who can take time off to reflect on the big questions of existence and politics.’

Related On This Site:   Ronald Bailey At Reason: “I’ll Show You My Genome. Will You Show Me Yours?”

Maybe if you’re defending religion, Nietzsche is a problematic reference: Dinesh D’Souza And Daniel Dennett at Tufts University: Nietzsche’s Prophesy…… From The Access Resource Network: Phillip Johnson’s “Daniel Dennett’s Dangerous Idea’Roger Scruton At The WSJ: ‘Memo To Hawking: There’s Still Room For God’ …Theodore Dalrymple In The City Journal: Atheism’s Problems.

Don’t immanentize the eschaton!: From The NY Times: ‘Atheists Sue to Block Display of Cross-Shaped Beam in 9/11 Museum’

Repost-From Virtual Philosophy: A Brief Interview With Simon BlackburnFrom The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’

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Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Skeptic Wins Global Warming Bet’

Full post here.

‘In 2008, Research Institute for Global Change climate modeller James Annan and David Whitehouse, an astrophysicist who is a scientific advisor with the Global Warming Policy Foundation in Britain bet a £100 that, using the HadCrut3 data set, there would be no new global temperature record set by 2011.’

And from the comments:

‘Changing our opinions on the whole debate–given the latest data–makes us awesome. That’s what science is all about–formulating opinions based on the data and changing those beliefs, when merited, as new data becomes available.

There’s one thing we can always be consistent on, though, which is that whether AGW is a big problem or just a small problem–or no problem at all–the solutions are the same: innovation and economic growth.’

Just tell that to the current administration…

I also think there’s some general post-industrial Western wish deep in the public mind for all things green.  People want to “be good,” and work toward some overall moral or ethical good that green thinking embodies.  This public sentiment likely leads to more votes for more regulation and public policy that will conflict with the moral and ethical goods served by open markets and open trade.

Related On This Site:  Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty: From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’

Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’A Few Links On Environmentalism And LibertyFrom The WSJ-A Heated Exchange: Al Gore Confronts His Critics…From The Literary Review–Weather Channel Green Ideology: Founder John Coleman Upset….The Weather Channel’s Green Blog: A Little Too GreenFrom The Washington Post: The Weather Channel’s Forecast Earth Team Fired

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Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’

Full post here.

‘When nobody important is paying much attention and nothing significant is likely to be at stake, then, as the Durban draft negotiations documents show, even diplomats can and will say any silly thing that they’d like.’

And some of the poorer countries’ actual motivations and self-interest for signing global climate treaties are interesting to note at Durban, especially when the rhetoric highlighting one of the key the moral arguments for climate change is so florid (we’re heading for imminent disaster…wealthier nations must sign off on economy-altering pledges to prevent doom…all peoples must united by this particular international law…why have you abandoned us?).  It always was a bad way to organize so many disparate interests.

It’s a good, I think, to keep simply pointing out many of the political, ideological and monied interests in the West who need these ideas to be true, and many of the reasons for the need, apart from climate science.

Additional:  Bailey has more here.  The movement is at a low point it seems.

Another Addition:  Per Bailey:

 The 17th conference of the parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change pulled back from the brink of collapse at around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. Briefly, agreement between the negotiators from nearly 200 countries was achieved by adopting a formula that launches a process that commits the UNFCCC to negotiating a protocol, another legal instrument or an “agreed outcome with legal force.”

Related On This Site:  Ronald Bailey At Reason: “I’ll Show You My Genome. Will You Show Me Yours?”… There’s science and there’s science education. Isn’t Dennett deeper than that? From The Access Resource Network: Phillip Johnson’s “Daniel Dennett’s Dangerous Idea’…Maybe if you’re defending religion, Nietzsche is a problematic reference: Dinesh D’Souza And Daniel Dennett at Tufts University: Nietzsche’s Prophesy…

Don’t immanentize the eschaton!: From The NY Times: ‘Atheists Sue to Block Display of Cross-Shaped Beam in 9/11 Museum’

How do these ideas fit in with our foreign policy and our own self-interest (if the Greens and general Western Left succeeds in getting us to sign something like this…what could come of that foreign policy-wise?): From Foreign Affairs Via The A & L Daily: ‘Conflict Or Cooperation: Three Visions Revisited’

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Ronald Bailey At Reason’s Hit & Run: ‘Are Republicans or Democrats More Anti-Science?’

Full piece here

A bold statement, but it’s a political football at the moment:

‘On the specific issues discussed above, I conclude that the Republicans are more anti-science. However, I do also agree with Berezow that scientific “ignorance has reached epidemic proportions inside the Beltway.’

Meanwhile, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope in Chile is just coming on line.  Video at the link.

Related On This SiteRonald Bailey At Reason: “I’ll Show You My Genome. Will You Show Me Yours?”… There’s science and there’s science education. Isn’t Dennett deeper than that? From The Access Resource Network: Phillip Johnson’s “Daniel Dennett’s Dangerous Idea’Repost-Steven Weinberg’s Essay ‘On God’ In The NY Times Review Of Books

Maybe if you’re defending religion, Nietzsche is a problematic reference: Dinesh D’Souza And Daniel Dennett at Tufts University: Nietzsche’s Prophesy…

There’s plenty of scientism on the Left as well.  Don’t immanentize the eschaton!: From The NY Times: ‘Atheists Sue to Block Display of Cross-Shaped Beam in 9/11 Museum’

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Ronald Bailey At Reason: “I’ll Show You My Genome. Will You Show Me Yours?”

Full post here.

Bailey discusses what the genome test can reveal about your genetic past, and how to use the information:

“We are fast approaching an era in which genetic information is no longer exclusive or medicalized. Instead, as screening costs plummet and our knowledge about genetics expands, virtually everyone will soon be able to have their genotypes at their fingertips.”

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