From GHG Daily Monitor:

It is well past time for conservatives to meet liberal environmentalism with alternative policies based on their fundamental beliefs, according to a new paper from the R Street Institute. “For years, the left has claimed the high ground of environmental debates, dominating the discussion about how to address … environmental concerns. Despite the failure of many of their ideas, they continue to define the debate, because conservatives have not offered effective alternatives, policies based in personal freedom and responsibility,” the report says.

Developing a conservative environmental policy alternative should not be that hard; conservatives have long identified themselves as stewards of the environment, the paper says.  A three-tiered strategy for identifying which type of policy mechanism is best suited for addressing an environmental issue is laid out in the paper.

The go-to option, the paper says, should be based on property rights and cooperative solutions, which would ensure that those affected by the rules are also involved in modifying them. “For conservatives looking for environmental solutions, cooperative and property-rights-based policies are the best place to start. They are best at combining respect for individual freedom with environmental effectiveness,” wrote R Street Institute associate fellow Todd Myers, director of the Center for the Environment at the Washington Policy Center.

In cases where there are simply too many stakeholders for a property rights-based solution, market incentives are the way to go, Myers said: “Mitigating the environmental impact stemming not from a few people, but thousands or millions, inevitably means the cost of negotiating an agreement among all interested parties will be too high. In such circumstances, a simple and transparent price on pollution becomes a better option.”

Finally, regulation should be a last resort. “Regulation is poor at addressing pollution that is distributed and comes from a wide range of sources. Such regulation can often create unintended consequences, requiring additional regulation to ‘solve’ the problems created by the original overregulation. On the other hand, where regulation can be simple, targeting a few polluters responsible for significant levels of impact, it can be the best option,” the paper says.

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