A Libertarian Climate Solution
A clean healthy climate is our quest and ambition. But to get there I favor maximizing personal choice – affordable by all economic groups – with minimal government involvement and regulation. Personal choice also assumes personal responsibility. The current cap and trade in CA is not a good solution. And personal responsibility means an informed citizenry on the realities of climate change, including risks and opportunities. Recall that Jefferson wrote that an educated citizenry is necessary for a Democracy. Here are some of my views:
- Limited government – I believe that one of the major threats is the increasing frequency and severity climate-influenced events, such as wildfires, floods, and droughts, compelling businesses and people to seek government help to socialize their costs.
- Adaptation – I favor adaptation over preservation and reconstruction. Our policies should encourage a graceful and safe transition to the climate that is becoming, rather than spending resources to ignore and forestall that which is inevitable.
- Climate Education – I advocate climate education in all schools to prepare young people for the future they will inherit.
- Sustainable Policy – I will support climate initiatives that are simple, transparent, fair, and effective, to secure the sustained public support required for the long haul.
- Innovation – I will be a strong advocate for climate research at fundamental and applied levels, building on innovative, entrepreneurial strengths for which the Bay Area and Silicon Valley are famous.
- Scaled Climate Planning Tools – I will support the development of scaled planning tools that can be used by communities and businesses to understand local both climate risks and options for securing their futures.
- Nuclear Power – I respect popular concerns about nuclear. However, I believe that fourth generation nuclear power technologies should be aggressively developed as an option – should it turn out that 100% clean energy is unreliable or un-affordable.
- Fossil Fuel – I believe that people should be able to choose fossil fuel over clean energy for cost, convenience or other reasons. However, the price of fossil fuels should include the cost of climate damage long term.
- Free Market – I support a free market climate policy, utilizing a carbon pricing signal to shape personal and business energy decisions. I would consider phasing out all market-distorting government incentives and subsidies for both fossil and clean energy sources.
The Citizens Climate Lobby’s Carbon Fee and Dividend approach is fully in accord with a libertarian climate solution. Local initiatives exemplify these principles as well. Community Choice renewable energy programs, being widely adopted in the Bay Area, are one example. The recently approved Foster City levee bond to address projected sea level rise from warming is another. Both exemplify local action, choice, and accountability.
I have had solar on my home roof since 2002. As a materials scientist, solar cells still fascinate me. As an engineer and Western Republican, I embrace self reliance. Thus I chose (with my wife’s agreement) to use our hard earned money to install solar cells on our house, but that was our choice. You too should be able to make most of your own choices regarding environmental solutions, safety permitting.