Wednesday, April 22, 2009

rc3 on the Dilemmas of Environmentalism

rc3 has a neat post on some dilemmas in environmentalism.

The closer:

Higher commodity prices create incentives to limit waste, but also make increasingly invasive extraction methods economically feasible. There was a recent article in National Geographic about mining for gold in the face of rising gold prices that exemplifies this problem. Rising commodity prices lead directly to habitat loss, which is the primary cause of species extinction.

The linked article from Mother Jones is not bad either. Industry primarily controls our rate of waste, waste is costly, and industry is highly sensitive to cost. Perhaps not the intention of the author, but it certainly appears by the end of the piece that markets reduce waste far more effectively than environmentalists.