Wednesday, June 16, 2010

touch choice for a statist environmentalist

More trees, but privately owned, will help with greenhouse gases...

From Ronald Bailey in Reason...

If you’re looking for a place to stash some excess carbon dioxide, forests are your best bet. Trees and plants drink up CO2, believed to be a major contributor to global warming. So the United Nations is trying to hammer out an agreement under which governments would be compensated for managing their countries’ forests to maximize carbon sequestration.

An October article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that this approach is unlikely to be effective because government-owned forests are not well-protected. Authors Ashwini Chhatre, a geographer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Arun Agrawal, a political scientist specializing in environmental policy at the University of Michigan, offer evidence that governments have a habit of licensing destructive logging and that they often fail to prevent resource rustling. In contrast, Chhatre and Agrawal found, forests owned by local communities are managed for the long term and store lots of carbon dioxide....

2 Comments:

At June 17, 2010 at 1:05 PM , Blogger William Lang said...

This contrasts with an interesting historical example: In the 17th century, Japan was beginning to suffer from deforestation, as prosperity after a long period of civil war increased demand for wood for fuel and construction. But the strong, central government of the Tokugawa shoguns recognized the danger by 1700 and succeeded in protecting the forests of Japan. They did so by installing sound forest management practices similar to those independently developed in Europe. (See Collapse, by Jared Diamond.)

 
At June 17, 2010 at 1:17 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

It also points to a dictum from political economy: The best form of government is benevolent dictatorship. Of course, the trouble is making sure that the dictatorship is and remains benevolent.

 

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