Saturday, November 30, 2013

A libertarian argument for climate action

A Libertarian Argument for Climate Action | Keith Gaby - Huffington Post:

November 8, 2013 - "Conventional wisdom says this Congress won't enact a policy that requires companies to pay for the carbon emissions they produce, and that's probably right. The politics are just too hard in 2013. But the underlying logic of that approach is something that's hard to argue with, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum....

"But what about libertarians who strongly oppose high taxes and onerous regulations? You might assume that opposing a carbon pollution tax or regulations to limit emissions would be their natural position. But a closer look suggests it may not be that simple....

"At its core, I think Libertarianism is the belief that individuals and companies should be free to do as they please, as long as their actions don't significantly harm others. For instance, libertarians support rules against murder, arson and theft -- because while those laws might be government restrictions on the complete freedom of the criminal, they are necessary to prevent great harm to other individuals....

"In business, I would think the principle is the same.... [W]hat if [a] company is causing harm to an unwilling party, or shifting costs to society? Then they are imposing on the freedom and well-being of others....

"Of course, libertarian solutions to climate change may be far different from the ideas suggested by progressive environmentalists. They might prefer giving individuals and companies the right to sue polluters for the cost imposed by their actions. Perhaps they'd want a tax that accounted for the costs to society, but only in exchange for an equal reduction in taxes on income or property."

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/keith-gaby/a-libertarian-argument-for-climate-action_b_4235618.html
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