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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Libertarian Environmentalism
    #2434859 - 03/15/04 02:19 PM (13 years, 13 days ago)

I was wondering what some of the libertarians on this board think would be good ways of dealing with some of our environmental problems without increasing the size of government. One interesting fact I learned in my Environmental Studies class is that nuclear power is heavily subsidized, and that if the subsidies were removed, it would not be an economically viable energy source, and thus could not compete in the market. I also learned that despite what certain people would have you believe, the price of wind energy has dropped dramatically in the last decade or so, and now has a very competetive price. So I have to say that that's one area where deregulation could actually be beneficial to the environment. What other ideas might help the environment without increasing the size of government significantly?


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"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Anonymous

Re: Libertarian Environmentalism [Re: silversoul7]
    #2434939 - 03/15/04 02:36 PM (13 years, 13 days ago)

the environment is a tough issue. i think the problem comes because property rights can sometimes be difficult to define. if someone dumps a bunch of trash on your yard, it's a pretty clear violation of your rights by their actions. who owns the air though? there is also noise pollution and light pollution. when i go out to the country, i can see 20 times as many stars as i can in the suburbs, because in the suburbs, other people are dumping light into the night sky. what's going on here? how much noise is to be permitted? at what point does someone else's noisyness, or air pollution for that matter, infringe on another person's rights? who decides?

when property and ownership are easily defined, libertarian principles work great. i think that in the case of pollution, it is sometimes not always easy to apply these ideas.


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: Libertarian Environmentalism [Re: ]
    #2434983 - 03/15/04 02:50 PM (13 years, 13 days ago)

how much noise is to be permitted? at what point does someone else's noisyness, or air pollution for that matter, infringe on another person's rights? who decides?

Those are similar to the questions silversoul was posing to the libertarians on this board, of which you are one. I don't think he was expecting you to ask more questions in return. Do you have a position on these issues or don't you?

If some guy in the apartment next door blasts his stereo at 3 in the morning, is he initiating force on me or not? If he's not, then according to libertarian thought neither I nor the cops can force him to stop.

If some pervert hangs around an elementary school showing pornography to the little kids, is he initiating force or not?

There are numerous cases where people who are not technically initiating force on others should legitimately be restrained, by force if necessary. The libertarian inability to see or admit that fact leads to many easily avoidable absurd conclusions.


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Anonymous

Re: Libertarian Environmentalism [Re: EchoVortex]
    #2435012 - 03/15/04 02:59 PM (13 years, 13 days ago)

Those are similar to the questions silversoul was posing to the libertarians on this board, of which you are one. I don't think he was expecting you to ask more questions in return.

yeah, i'm not responding to the question, just elaborating on it. i'm somewhat perplexed about this as well. the libertarian answer to silversoul's question would be that the government should limit pollution when the act violates another person's rights. the problem for me is that this can be difficult to define when we're talking about pollution.

Do you have a position on these issues or don't you?

not really.

to me, pollution is a topic where it can become difficult to apply libertarian principles. another is children, and another is natural resources...


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InvisibleLetto
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Re: Libertarian Environmentalism [Re: silversoul7]
    #2435968 - 03/15/04 07:26 PM (13 years, 13 days ago)

Quote:

silversoul7 said:
One interesting fact I learned in my Environmental Studies class is that nuclear power is heavily subsidized, and that if the subsidies were removed, it would not be an economically viable energy source, and thus could not compete in the market.




Since I'm a nuclear engineering student, I might as well step in. If nuclear energy could not compete in the American market and 20% of the national energy supply was gone, what would replace it? Solar energy is practically a joke now. There is a brick factory in North Carolina that paid for my university's nuclear engineering building. If that one factory was going to be powered by solar energy, the panels would take up the entire state of North Carolina just to produce enough energy for that one factory. Also, some of the elements used in making solar panels are highly dangerous, like arsenic.

Then you have windmills. The area one wind field takes up in order to be economically viable is incredible, so it's not like you could put them just anywhere. They have to be in wide open areas in the middle of nowhere (Iowa, Montana or somewhere). But what do you do when the wind dies down? And what are you going to do to move this energy from the middle of nowhere to California or New York where the energy is needed? So you have to run transmission lines across the country (or use the current system), but a good deal of the energy is lost travelling long distances in high tension wires.

But we still have coal plants all around the country. But the primary reason people are afraid of nuclear energy, the radioactive materials involved, are also present in coal burning plants. Along with all the NOx and SOx gases that are released in to the atmosphere, coal plants also release significant amounts of Uranium-232 (maybe U-238, can't remember which) and Thorium, which are both highly radioacitve and are found in nuclear reactors. But the difference between the reactors and coal plants is that nuclear plants never released these elements into the atmosphere.

Okay, there's still the drawback with nuclear energy of having all that leftover radioactive waste. What to do with that? Bury it in Yucca Mountain? No, there's a recycling process the reuses the spent fuel. For every 4 years a nuclear reactor is in operation, recycling that spent fuel is enough to run the reactor for an additional year. Plus using this method, other non-radioactive elements can be extracted from the "waste" and sold to private indistry for use in batteries, research, whatever. But there's a problem. Jimmy Carter outlawed this process. France has been using it, Germany has been using it, there have been no problems, they are each very highly powered by nuclear energy (France is somewhere around 80%), and they aren't having issues with their waste disposal.


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: Libertarian Environmentalism [Re: Letto]
    #2436044 - 03/15/04 07:46 PM (13 years, 13 days ago)

The point is government subsidy of the cost and thus the people being unaware of the true costs. For instance, the government has subsidized the cost of road building and thus made it cheaper for trucks than for commercial rail freight. (Truckers will say that they pay in road and fuel taxes but they don't come close to paying their share of the damage they cause to roads).

As a Libertarian God, I say we should pay for road use based on exactly how many miles we drive with the weight of the vehicle factored in


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Libertarian Environmentalism [Re: Letto]
    #2436309 - 03/15/04 08:52 PM (13 years, 13 days ago)

Quote:

Solar energy is practically a joke now.



It wouldn't be if it was subsidized the way nuclear energy is. I'd also like to point out that there are several kinds of solar energy. Actually, Solar Thermal energy costs about the same amount per kilowatt($0.10-.15) as nuclear energy.

Quote:

Then you have windmills. The area one wind field takes up in order to be economically viable is incredible, so it's not like you could put them just anywhere. They have to be in wide open areas in the middle of nowhere (Iowa, Montana or somewhere). But what do you do when the wind dies down? And what are you going to do to move this energy from the middle of nowhere to California or New York where the energy is needed?



I used to live in Sacramento, and whenever you travel between Sacramento and San Francisco(a little over a 1-hour drive if traffic conditions are good), you pass a huge wind farm. You must think most of the US is one giant metropolis. It's not. Even out here in California, there are plenty of wide-open spaces for windmills. As for when the wind dies down, I don't think these windmills really require that strong of a wind to function, and there's surely not going to be absolute still air for very long. BTW, wind energy now costs about $0.04-.05 per kilowatt, about the same as coal.

BTW, one of the most eco-friendly and cost-effective($0.03-.08 per kilowatt) energy sources is geothermal. Unfortunately, with the technology we have right now, you can only build a geothermal plant on a major faultline.


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: Libertarian Environmentalism [Re: silversoul7]
    #2439099 - 03/16/04 01:51 PM (13 years, 12 days ago)

They wanted to build a wind farm off the Mass. coast but the fucking hypocrite shitbag Kennedys went ballistic cause it would've spoiled their view. Really a perfect site for it too.


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Libertarian Environmentalism [Re: silversoul7]
    #2439350 - 03/16/04 02:56 PM (13 years, 12 days ago)

Do you have a source for these numbers?


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Libertarian Environmentalism [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2439513 - 03/16/04 03:37 PM (13 years, 12 days ago)

They're from my notes in class. I'll do a search for those numbers later.


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