Terry Anderson of PERC argues that it’s time for a “Green Tea Party”: “a movement that brings environmental quality through economic prosperity.”
The GTP’s platform would be that only prosperity and incentives can drive environmental improvements. The first plank: Wealthier is healthier. From the U.S. to the former Soviet Union, data show that economic growth is necessary for environmental improvement, not its enemy. Such growth requires a strong private sector, not more federal spending and red tape. The second plank: Incentives matter. The GTP would use a carrot instead of the regulatory stick to improve environmental quality, and let energy markets and prices dictate energy sources. A replacement for fossil fuels will be found only when entrepreneurs can make a profit from cheaper, cleaner and more efficient energy.
Specific policies Anderson identifies that make economic and environmental sense a GTP could endorse include requiring federal land management agencies to turn a profit, expanded reliance on water markets, and the expansion of catch-share fisheries management.