Imagine an environmental conference bringing together leading environmental lawyers and scholars from across the political spectrum. In some cases those attending were the same scholars who as graduate students and activists helped pass major federal environmental legislation of the 1970s.
Top-down legislation passed in the 1970s, and credited for early though
expensive successes, has slowed environment progress, restricting new technologies and common sense approaches to improving air and water quality, healthy fisheries.
I ordered the 2010 Breaking the Logjam
book (Yale University Press) via Amazon, but report pdf is online here
and I think has much of the same content.
The Breaking the Logjam report pdf introduction notes:
There is also growing recognition that, with proper government oversight, regulatory approaches relying on market- and property right-like mechanisms and information techniques can and should be designed to address environmental problems. These regulatory tools have the potential to harness the innovation and entrepreneurship of many to produce greater environmental gains, often at a lower aggregate cost than traditional regulation. More efficient regulatory approaches are especially desirable in the current economic environment when governments are striving to do more with less.
Again, this is a finding not of a free-market think tank, but of a major research conference with a broad spectrum of environmental scholars participating. This was to be a blueprint for environmental reform for the Obama Administration (but was mostly ignored by environmental agencies and foundations).
Also, the study authors note that states are better able to deal with state and local environmental issues:
Further, there is also recognition that there should be a more sensible division of responsibility between federal and state governments—one in which the federal government has the responsibility and authority to deal directly with national and transnational environmental problems, and the states have more scope to address environmental problems, especially if those problems are primarily local.
Now… all this said, I don’t claim the report is perfect. For example, it begins with a climate change focus and advocates cap-and-trade policies for carbon dioxide emissions. At the time of the 2008 conference there was more faith in climate models that predicted runaway global warming. However, with fifteen or more years now of no measurable warming, climate models seem clearly broken. (See, for example: “Policy Implications of Climate Models on the Verge of Failure
“) In addition, the Climategate revelations of ideological pressure at major climate research departments and journals have diminished climate change consensus inside and outside academia. (See, for example: “‘Landmark consensus study’ is incomplete
” and “Consensus and controversy
” by Judith Curry)
Zoning the Oceans
Policy recommendations in Breaking the Logjam Chapters 2: “Oceans” are compelling, including:
• Start the process of zoning U.S. oceans
• Introduce more limited access Privilege Programs in wild fisheries
A recommendation in Chapter 3: “Waters, Lands, and Wildlife” is:
• use economic incentives to reduce water pollution from nonpoint sources
Breaking the Logjam is highly recommend for students as a non-ideological source for federal marine natural resource policy reforms.