Conservatives are the true environmentalists

By Stephanie Klein | April 22, 2014

“Tree-hugging liberal” is a term that illustrates the common view that the left is the party more aligned with environmental causes, but could it be that conservatives are the true environmentalists?

Todd Meyers, writer Of “Eco-Fads: How the Rise of Trendy Environmentalism Is Harming the Environment” and a Wall Street Journal expert panelist for energy and the environment, tells 770 KTTH’s David Boze that while the left engages in a lot of visible “green” efforts, they’re not always the best environmental solutions.

“Washington state brags that it has the greenest prison in the country. Part of being the greenest prison is we spent $880,000 as taxpayers to put solar panels on that,” says Meyers. “Over the next 25 years, those solar panels will produce about $175,000 worth of electricity, and the environmental value of the carbon reduced is about $10,000. So for $880,000 we got about $180,000 worth of energy and environmental benefit.

“That is a tremendous waste of resources and the reason we did it is because it feels good, right? Solar panels are cool.”

Meyers says conservative policies protecting the free market are actually more beneficial to the environment than big showy efforts concocted by the government.

“While government solutions focus on making us feel good about ourselves, and look good,” says Meyers, “in the free market, farmers have to pay for fertilizer. They don’t want to put any more fertilizer on the ground than they have to, so there is a natural incentive for them to do more with less.

“That is the greatest thing that the free market is good at, is doing more with less,” says Meyers. “If you look around, you find that the solutions that have helped the environment, clean air, clean water, using fewer resources, come from the free market, not from politicians.”

Government regulation in many ways can actually be a hindrance to the environment, Meyers says, pointing out the current controversy over the city council’s dealings with new rideshare services in the city.

“Even the environmental community recognizes that ridesharing services are more environmentally friendly, use less gas overall, but the City of Seattle is blocking them or restricting them,” says Meyers. “So what we see more often, is government regulations are stuck in the past and technology streaks ahead of it, and government simply can’t keep up.”

The free market is quicker at innovating and bringing about more environmentally-friendly technologies, Meyers explains.

“The Prius wasn’t created by politicians. It was created by the free market,” says Meyers. “Toyota didn’t have subsidies, didn’t have a mandate to create a hybrid vehicle. Politicians didn’t know what the heck a hybrid vehicle was in the 1990s. It was only three years after the Prius came out that politicians jumped on the bandwagon.”

“So the irony is that, that Prius driver who is lecturing, who probably will lecture about all the need for government intervention, is driving around in a car the government didn’t invent, the free market did.”

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