Archive for the ‘green’ Category

WSJ on "green" power: Us Grinches HATE Green indoctrination! We also don`t like consumer choice and free markets!

December 30th, 2008 No comments

A post on the Wall Street Journal`s enviro blog, Environmental Capital, reports on one disgruntled reaction to a recent school play called “Santa Goes Green”, and reports on a new children`s book (and website) by the same name.

The post closes with the sarcastic note, “No word yet on what kind of electricity is powering the web site’s servers. “

One wonders if the WSJ has heard of consumer choice or free markets (and is in favor of supporting either), since it doesn`t even raise the issue of parental/consumer preferences, which underlie the subject of the post.  Those who oppose the message of the book can peruse it and simply refuse to buy it for their child if they wish.  Similar principles apply to their child`s school play: they have some ability to object, although the degree of influence they may have may depend on whether the school is public or private.  Surely this would be an interesting point worth having readers think about.

Finally, of course, there is the final note of sarcasm – why does it not occur to the author to consider the legitimacy of consumer preferences for “green” power, and the difficulties that consumers face, in a regulated power market, for buying electricity sourced (and priced) the way they wish?  As Lew Rockwell points out, with truly free electricity markets, people would be able to put their money where their preference lie.   This is exactly the “Smart Grid” market that Google and GE have recently been targetting.

Why is the WSJ uninterested in discussing free markets, much less making the point that “green” consumers ought to be fans of free and competitive electricity markets?  So much easier to diss others` preferences, than to consider how to make allies for the free markets that would better allow all to satisfy their own preferences!

Bob Murphy in Forbes: no to "green" jobs, but otherwise? No advice

November 19th, 2008 No comments

Kudos to Robert P. Murphy for a new opinion piece dated Novermber 15 in regarding  “The High Costs Of ‘Green Recovery'”

The biographical note appended to the piece describes Bob as “a senior economist with the Institute for Energy Research, a nonprofit foundation that applies free-market solutions to energy challenges” – but sadly, Bob’s piece fails (i) to suggest what “free-market solutions” are available for energy challenges, or (ii) to argue why such free-market solutions are actually the best approaches.  While I share Bob’s arguments that a federal “green” jobs program is likely to be counterproductive, I disagree with his generalizations on climate concerns. 

Bob noted the Forbes piece in his blog; I copy my below the comments I made to him there:

Congratulations, Bob, on getting into Forbes, but I must confess that it is a bit of a puzzle that even when you get the bully pulpit you decline to talk about what kinds of actions make sense as energy policy – such as how to improve the energy grid (a centralized push for local utility deregulation, so utilities might have some interest?), how to achieve political consensus on greater exploration (such as royalty checks to citizens), allowing faster depreciation, etc.

It also disappoints that you insist on engaging on climate change issues only from a heavy-handed government redistribution standpoint, while ignoring not only lack of property rights, many parties with differing views of equity, and tragedy of the commons aspects, but also ignoring the obvious superiority of carbon taxes (assuming legislators are going to choose between cap and trade and carbon taxes), which present few opportunities for rent-seeking and can be rebated to reduce the regressive effcts.

Update:  I note that Obama’s campaign energy policy (the “Obama-Biden comprehensive New Energy for America plan“) is here; his slimmed-down outline that describes a plan with the same name is here.