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Morning Bell: Free Markets Better for Earth

Posted By Conn Carroll On April 22, 2009 @ 8:21 am In Ongoing Priorities | Comments Disabled

Deep in southern Siberia not far from Russia’s border with Mongolia is the “Blue Eye of Siberia [1]” … the deepest and largest (by volume) fresh water lake in the world. Formed in an ancient rift valley, Lake Baikal is home to more than 1,700 species of plant and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world.

Despite its 25 million year age [2], Baikal’s life sustaining beauty almost did not survive communist rule. Russian scientists believed that Baikal’s pure water would help produce better rayon cord for airplane tires. The scientists turned out to be wrong [3] and the aviation industry switched from rayon cord to metallic cord in tire production. In a free market system, the plant would have closed and resources would have been allocated elsewhere. But under communism, jobs were the number one priority, and the factory supported 3,500 of them [3]. So it continued polluting the lake for decades unabated.

Big government’s failure to balance environmental quality with other economic goods [4] is not limited to communist Russia. Throughout history big government has a well established track record of tolerating and even perpetuating environmental degradation [5]. The left knows this, which is why they have tried so hard to drape their latest big government plans in free market rhetoric.

The problem is there is nothing free market about carbon cap and trading. New Zealand Climate Science Coalition chair Bryan Leyland explains why [6]:

So, to my knowledge, carbon trading is the only commodity trading where it is impossible to establish with reasonable accuracy how much is being bought and sold, where the commodity that is traded is invisible and can perform no useful purpose for the purchaser, and where both parties benefit if the quantities traded have been exaggerated. … It is, therefore, an open invitation to fraud and that is exactly what is happening all over the world.

Carbon is ubiquitous in our lives and in our economy. The only way a cap and trade “market” could work is with round the clock and pervasive big government surveillance and monitoring of everything you do. Does that sound like a “free market” to you?

Quick Hits:


Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/04/22/morning-bell-free-markets-better-for-earth/

URLs in this post:

[1] Blue Eye of Siberia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Baikal

[2] 25 million year age: http://www1.american.edu/TED/baikal.htm

[3] The scientists turned out to be wrong: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,970178,00.html

[4] balance environmental quality with other economic goods: http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc1/EnvironmentalismAPreface.html

[5] big government has a well established track record of tolerating and even perpetuating environmental degradation: http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=11440763

[6] explains why: http://www.foundry.org/2008/02/13/carbon-trading-is-an-invitation-to-fraud/

[7] did produce significant information: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/us/politics/22blair.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

[8] open to prosecuting Bush officials: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/21/AR2009042101692.html

[9] fighting Mexican drug cartels can’t be separated from fighting illegal immigration.: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/jamescarafano/The-ultralightness-of-smuggling-43276952.html

[10] landed jobs with groups that seek to influence policymakers: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-04-21-lobbying_N.htm

[11] spent more than $22 million lobbying the federal government: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/21/AR2009042101788.html

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