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  • Freer Trade is Key to a Cleaner Environment and Green Growth

    In remarks on World Environment Day, the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Pascal Lamy, pointed out that, “Trade opening has much to contribute in the fight against climate change and to the protection of the environment.”

    Indeed, the most practical improvements in energy efficiency and protecting the environment over the past decades haven’t stemmed from government regulatory mandates. As shown in the analysis of the Index of Economic Freedom, the most progress has been driven by advances in freer trade and economic freedom. These unleash greater economic opportunity and prosperity, generating a virtuous cycle of investment, innovation, and dynamic economic growth. Echoing the same message, the WTO chief further noted:

    The entire world is well aware of the environmental dangers posed to our planet. But the ability of governments to respond to these dangers is tied closely to the resources at their disposal. Countries which have had success in alleviating poverty and raising living standards tend to be more adept at creating the conditions for a cleaner environment.

    Policy efforts aimed at imposing stricter environmental standards through a national or global regulatory body run great risk of being not only fruitless, but also counterproductive. They undercut the economic growth and efficiency indispensable to effective efforts to protect the environment. Such regulations are likely to be little more that feel-good actions! The fundamental flaw of those favoring new government directives is the fallacy that there must be a trade-off between economic growth and environmental protection. They seem to think that to get more of one, you have to have less of the other. The truth is just the opposite: to get more environmental protection you need more growth, not less.

    It is encouraging that many Americans see that truth. As a March 2010 Gallup survey reveals, more Americans believe that economic growth should take priority over environmental protection when the two goals collides, with fewer willing to support environmental measures that may have a negative economic impact!

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Freer Trade is Key to a Cleaner Environment and Green Growth

    1. April, Colorado says:

      Was this commentary posted by BP?

    2. Robert says:

      Free trade with free countries only!

    3. pjwg says:

      This is such a no brainer but see the comment re: BP. It seems the Left's knowledge of history is limited to the last 30 years and even that is distorted. Most of human history has revolved around the basics of everyday survival. It's only when societies are wealthy enough to get beyond worrying about how to feed, clothe and shelter themselves they can divert resources to either maintaining the environment or improving it. Collectivist economies on a large scale fail predictably and dramatically. Rarely are they able to survive past a full generation much less provide the resources needed for leftist green fantasies.

    4. Ritchie The Riveter says:

      No, April, but it was posted by someone who possesses common sense.

      Prosperity frees us to think environmentally …

      … conversely, when people are wondering where their next meal is coming from, they are more likely to fillet Willy than free him.

    5. Pingback: Instapundit » Blog Archive » WANT A CLEANER ENVIRONMENT AND “GREEN GROWTH?” Support free trade….

    6. Morgan says:

      "Free trade with free countries only!"

      Why is that? Free trade is good for a country's citizens. If another country is foolish enough to restrict trade and punish their people, why would we reciprocate and punish our own? If you want to be guided by other countries mistakes, you could just go straight to a more restrictive country and enjoy the victory that is protectionism and poverty.

      That sort of protectionist sentiment is what is pushing us back behind Hong Kong and Singapore. Along with our general confusion that makes us think trade deficits are 'exporting wealth'. As though we would rather just hold money in our hands rather than trade it for the best value we can.

    7. Peter Jackson says:

      Environmental laws are luxury goods. The world's poor don't try to save their environment, they eat it. A clean environment has it's costs like everything else, and the countries most able to afford it will have the most of it.

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