"He's a snake in the grass, I tell ya guys; he may look dumb but that's just a disguise; he's a mastermind in the ways of espionage." Charlie Daniels, "Uneasy Rider" Solar vs. deserts; or how "public" ownership of resources produces zero-sum political fights over preferences - TT's Lost in Tokyo

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

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 | #

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

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 ncentivized).

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)

Published Mon, Sep 1 2008 5:54 PM by TokyoTom