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A Warming Economy

“The politicization of science is tantamount to killing it.” – Apollo 7 astronaut Walter Cunningham.

As my fellow writers have noted, there is a lot of media attention concerning global warming/climate change initiatives at the policy level. Carbon emission regulations, mandated offset programs, etc. the list goes on. But, is forcing companies and peoples alike to change by way of law the quickest, best solution?

Free-market Philosophies:
Interestingly enough, most of the Constitution framers were libertarians, free-market thinkers. However, there is a problem with that old mindset. As the book Natural Capitalism notes: Up until very recently, capitalism has not recognized that our natural resources are limited. Fortunately, that mindset is changing, and people have begun adopting new, more sustainable ideas for living and business.

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Government regulation issues:
Free markets rely on people being convinced of the importance of an issue and using their creativity to fix it. Wedding science to politics not only makes people frustrated; as Cunningham suggests, it causes science to lose credibility when people look to it to solve all their problems. Gerard Baker reports for TimesOnline that policies forcing change on the issue will “allow enterprise to be choked to death in a panic of suffocating regulations.”

What are the solutions?
Some have adopted trading Carbon Credits like money. In such a market, companies either gain credits by lowering carbon emissions, or they pay other companies to decrease their emissions (carbon offsets). Clearly, programs like this require some government setup – but not micromanagement. Take for example the offset issue in Europe. The U.N. wants to force companies to be less dependent on offsets, but Italian energy giant Fulvio Conti argues that $100 dollars spent on carbon dioxide abatement technologies in China is much more economic than doing so in Europe.

Government or Free-market? You decide.

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