Fear that the coronavirus pandemic came from wild animals has evoked calls for greater limits on trade in wildlife. But Catherine Semcer of PERC (the Property and Environment Research Center), in a thorough discussion of the issue, says that the coronavirus did not come from legal trade in wildlife and warns against further restricting trophy hunting through bans on imports.
Writes Semcer on the PERC site:
“The lack of evidence connecting the pandemic to the legal trade in wildlife is critical for decision makers around the world to consider as they plot a path forward and seek to reduce the risks of future pandemics. The sustainable use of wildlife for commercial and other purposes has proven itself to be a highly effective tool for conserving wildlands and reducing poverty, both of which have important roles in preventing the spread of infectious disease.
“Blanket trade bans, like some have proposed, also risk making the jobs of public health officials significantly more difficult, leading to delayed investigations, sluggish responses, and lost lives when the next pandemic occurs. Rather than enact blanket bans on trade, effective policies will be more targeted, seeking to leverage the ability of trade to produce outcomes that reduce the risk of future disease outbreaks and expand the use of market- and rights-based conservation tools to limit the emergence of new pathogens.
“Conservation programs that create viable economic alternatives and increase the opportunity costs of such development have the potential to act as a prophylactic guarding against any viral spillover into human populations. Continue reading “The Pandemic and Trophy Hunting”
Here’s Sterling Burnett on the “megadrought”:
The establishment media is hyping a new paper claiming climate change is contributing to a megadrought throughout the western United States. Federal government data compiled by the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), however, show the claim is false.
Reporting on the study, published in the journal Science, Doyle Rice writes in USA Today, “[f]ueled in part by human-caused climate change, a ‘megadrought’ appears to be emerging in the western U.S., a study published Thursday suggests. In fact, the nearly-20-year drought is almost as bad or worse than any in the past 1,200 years, scientists say.” Continue reading “Here’s Why There’s No Megadrought”
Writing for PERC, R. David Simpson gives an intriguing example of salmon preservation: Native American tribes in Oregon considered bidding on a dam license (to change its operations in ways that would protect salmon). The result: a productive relationship with the dam owners—a cooperative effort to protect salmon.
Here is an excerpt from Simpson’s paper:
Salmon had been in decline on the Deschutes River in northern Oregon, a tributary of the Columbia, since Portland General Electric began construction of the Pelton Round Butte Dam Complex in the mid-1960s. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, a consortium of local Native American groups, were guaranteed the right to fish for salmon on the Deschutes River under an 1855 treaty.
As salmon declined, the tribes faced both economic and cultural impoverishment. Controversy and finger-pointing attended discussions of the causes of the salmon decline, with the tribes blaming the Portland General Electric dams and the utility pointing to both up- and downstream threats to salmon. Continue reading “A Property Rights Solution to Endangered Salmon”
By Max Falque.
The managing director of ICREI, the International Center for Research on Environmental Issues, Max Falque is based in Aix-en-Provence, France. He tells the story of how he changed from a French bureaucrat to a proponent of environmental protection using private property and markets. From his essay, “Why Did I Become a Free-Market Environmentalist?” in I Chose Liberty, edited by Walter Block.
Based on my family background, I should still worship central government and “service public,” like the great majority of French. My family shared two traditions: on my father’s side, conservative provincial and provençal bourgeoisie engaged in farming a family estate since the 16th century, and on my mother’s side, the value of the liberal, intellectual, Catholic beliefs. But everybody agreed about the sanctity of bureaucracy. Studying law at the Montpellier University in the 50s could not introduce me to classic liberal thinking, since the clear distinction between civil and administrative law was (and still is) a basic fact. In economics classes, references to Keynes and Samuelson left no room for unknown Austrian economics. The Communist party used to get nearly 30 percent at the general elections, and most “intellectuals” were at least fellow travelers or useful idiots, if not true believers.
The concept of free market environmentalism (FME) came as a revelation to me when meeting R.J. Smith at a Lincoln Institute conference at Harvard in July 1983. R.J., in a plenary session, briefly explained that land could be best managed by property rights and market instruments. Ann Louise Strong, as chair of the panel, dryly answered that this was outdated and inappropriate thinking. I felt sorry for R.J. and I invited him to discuss the issue at a neighboring pub. It was quite a fascinating evening and, back in France, R.J. sent me his recently published article, “Privatizing the Environment” (Policy Review, 1982). I was then introduced progressively to the FME literature and scholars. Continue reading “How I Became a Free-Market Environmentalist in France”