As the presidential campaign heats up, it would be nice to see some environmental leadership. Unfortunately, neither political party is providing it. Democrats keep throwing money and regulations at environmental problems, and Republicans keep arguing that a focus on jobs and the economy must trump environmental protection.
It is time for a movement that brings environmental quality through economic prosperity. It's time for a Green Tea Party.
The GTP would not be for you if you think increasing Washington bureaucracy budgets will produce a cleaner environment. Since 1980, the Environmental Protection Agency's inflation-adjusted budget has been relatively flat, but air and water quality have improved. Most improvements came through cost-saving technologies in the private sector, not regulations.
The GTP's platform would be that only prosperity and incentives can drive environmental improvements. The first plank: Wealthier is healthier. From the U.S. to the former Soviet Union, data show that economic growth is necessary for environmental improvement, not its enemy. Such growth requires a strong private sector, not more federal spending and red tape. The second plank: Incentives matter. The GTP would use a carrot instead of the regulatory stick to improve environmental quality, and let energy markets and prices dictate energy sources. A replacement for fossil fuels will be found only when entrepreneurs can make a profit from cheaper, cleaner and more efficient energy.
(photo credit: Dan McKay)