Archive for September, 2008

Solar vs. deserts; or how "public" ownership of resources produces zero-sum political fights over preferences

September 1st, 2008 No comments

Ron Bailey, Science Correspondent of Reason Online, reported recently “how some environmental
groups are fighting the development of utility-scale solar power in the
Mojave Desert.”

As I have posted elsewhere on the role our government plays in compounding our disputes over differing preferences, I copy my comments on Bailey’s thread here:

TokyoTom | August 18, 2008, 6:34am | #

real problem with many of these environmental fights is that either
governments own the resources or the economic actor is highly
With the deserts privatized and freer markets, we’d see
solar if it made economic sense (including the costs of paying off

While we are unlike to see complete privatization of state or federal
lands, we’d see greater citizen enthusiasm if the states and the feds
would be so kind as to rebate a hefty chuck of the land-use royatly
payments to us (with a cut to the related bureacrats
to incentivize
them to get good rates and to make sure proceeds are actually
collected; citizens and public prosecutors would be similarly

It is the lack of sufficient revenue sharing by a greedy federal
government that has led state governors to block further OCS leasing,
and has given enviros no incentives to agree on ANWR drilling
(as I
note in the linked blog post).

Likewise, a rebated carbon tax would be a million times better than the
ethanol mandates, renewable mandates, the Warner Lieberman pork and the
Pickes’ ad blitz for solar hand-outs. The problem is a government that
wants to have a finger in every pie – citizens ought to be insisting on
a direct cut, instead of letting politicians direct all of the spoils

(which is the REAL cause of the constant deadlock).

(emphasis added)

Categories: AGW, ANWR, federal land, OCS, royalties, solar Tags:

Tom Friedman/NYT roots for freedom and property rights as ways to propel Chinese progress along the enviro Kuznets curve

September 1st, 2008 No comments

Here’s the money quote from Tom Friedman‘s interesting op-ed at the Sunday New York Times:

The problem for the ruling Communist Party is this: China can’t have a greener
society without empowering citizens to become watchdogs and allowing them to sue
local businesses and governments that pollute, and it can’t have a more
knowledge-intensive innovation society without a freer flow of information and

Spoken like a true enviro-Nazi!

My prior posts on the environmental Kuznets curve are here.