Monday, 21 May 2012

The purpose of environmental regulation is the suppression of economic growth


It would appear that our MPs (or at least the ones on the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee) haven't been listening to the deep green rhetoric. As a result they don't seem to appreciate that the whole point of environmental regulation is to reduce economic growth. For, as we know those deep green folk like the WWF believe that you can't separate resource consumption and growth. Ergo growth is bad.

"As development increases beyond a certain level, so does per person Footprint — eventually to the point where small gains in development come at the cost of very large Footprint increases."

You've got that? It comes from WWF's Living Planet Report, a report encapsualted as follows: campaigning group WWF...has stated that economic growth should be abandoned, that citizens of the world's wealthy nations should prepare for poverty and that all the human race's energy should be produced as renewable electricity within 38 years from now.

So the whole point and purpose of those green regulations is to slow - better still, eliminate - economic growth. Right now that's not good politics, so our MPs pretend otherwise. As does the chap from WWF UK:

 "Far from putting British companies out of business, environmental policies may well be the saving of them. Leading businesses are crying out for measures such as mandatory carbon reporting and policy certainty for development of the renewable energy sector," said WWF-UK economic policy officer Luke Wreford."

Now you are confused aren't you! Regulations designed to prevent over-use of resources, to reduce "carbon footprints" and, bluntly, to stop growth are described as the salvation of business. And to justify this we've dreamt up that most oxymoronic of ideas: green growth:

The committee calls for a long-term view based on a proper strategy for green growth, including more investment in renewable sources of energy to reduce UK reliance on imported fossil fuels. 

For investment read "government spending"! Either economic growth is a bad thing (as the Living Planet Report sets out pretty clearly) and regulations or protections are needed to stop it or else it isn't, in which case we need fewer of those controls. In the end environmental regulation will always be anti-growth.

Sadly, our MPs seem not to have worked this out yet.


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