By Laura Huggins
This special issue is dedicated to PERC’s Lone Mountain Fellows who are as impressive as Lone Mountain (featured on the cover), which towers over PERC at 11,166 feet. Lone Mountain Fellowships offer a unique opportunity for scholars, policymakers, and environmentalists to advance our understanding of the role of markets and property rights in promoting environmental quality. PERC has hosted 52 Lone Mountain Fellows, representing institutions such as Yale and Columbia University and from countries spanning from Australia to Bolivia. This issue of PERC Reports highlights the work of some of these scholars.
BRIAN STEED arrived at PERC straight from defending his thesis with Noble Laureate Elinor Ostrom. Here Steed explores green against green. Although many environmentalists favor green energy, they loathe its localized impacts. Rather than accept the tradeoffs inherent in green energy production, some have fought the siting of wind and solar farms based on concerns about their impact on the local environment. Green energy is not the problem, they argue—it should just be done elsewhere. But as Steed points out, the “elsewheres” are limited.
Considered one of the top environmental economists in the United States, MATTHEW KAHN recently escaped the southern California summer to enjoy the cooler climate in Montana and to further explore human adaptation to climate change. His recent book Climatopolis has received critical acclaim.
University of Toronto economist, MATTHEW TURNER, asks a provocative question: Does building more roads to alleviate traffic create more traffic? Turner’s research, which he furthered at PERC, suggests a fundamental law of road construction—build it and they will come.
JEFF BENNETT emerged from the land down under to visit the Big Sky State. With more than 30 years of experience researching, consulting, and teaching in the fields of environmental economics, Bennett has turned toward investigating what he calls “little green lies.”
KURT SCHNIER recalls his experience being stuck on an island off Alaska. This circumstance allowed him plenty of time to get to know the local fishermen who encouraged him to think beyond the efficiency gains resulting from rights-based management programs for fisheries.
PERC assembles an assortment of scholars knowing that cross fertilization will advance the frontiers of free market environmentalism. Todd Zywicki, professor of Law at George Mason University summed up the Lone Mountain Fellowship well: “An important element of the program is its interdisciplinary focus—by bringing together law professors, economists, and experts in natural resources, PERC promotes exactly the sort of cross-disciplinary exchange that will be necessary to create innovative public policy proposals in the area of property rights, natural resources, and energy policy.”
Finally, if you are fed up with the presidential campaign, especially when it comes to new ideas for the environment, don’t miss PERC’s executive director TERRY ANDERSON’S discussion of the need for a Green Tea Party. For more on this campaign visit perc.org/greentea and percolatorblog.org.
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