Day: November 8, 2019

Worried about droughts? Embrace water markets


In the last few years, California experienced a long, severe drought. It was extremely  painful, but not as painful as it might have been because California has water markets that helped the water flow to those who needed it most. Strengthening and expanding water markets could have furthered reduced this pain.

Courtesy of Jose Manuel Suarez

Yet in Water Deeply, environmental activist Gary Wockner bemoans that so many environmentalists are embracing markets to resolve environmental conflicts. His critique says more about the growing schisms between environmentalists than the merits of water markets.

Wockner offers three criticisms of water markets: (1) they commoditize water; (2) he hasn’t seen a quantified analysis of whether they are successful, under a test that he has devised but does not articulate; and (3) they, along with other free market environmental reforms, are pushing environmentalists away from his preferred model of lobbying and litigation (political…

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If the goal is to guide human action, environmental markets work better than indecipherable regulations


One of the greatest strengths of free market environmentalism approaches to environmental problems is that they facilitate the development of new information about the environment and provide an effective means for people to act on that information. Where there’s a market for some environmental benefit, the people who value it have a strong incentive to discover more information about it and, thanks to the price signal, others can act on that new knowledge without having to know it themselves.

For instance, suppose a plucky environmentalist discovers that a farmer’s practices reduce water quality to a distant stream through a complex hydrological process. If there’s a cost effective substitute or a means of mitigating its effects on the stream, the environmentalist can pay the farmer to change his behavior. If the price is right, the farmer will change his behavior without having to understand the complex process by which his…

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History of Styles and Titles Part III: Hanover to Windsor.

European Royal History

The kingdoms of England and Scotland were formally united into a single Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707 by the Act of Union. Queen Anne consequently assumed the title “Queen of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc.”. It remained in use until 1801, when Great Britain and Ireland combined to become the United Kingdom. George III used the opportunity to drop both the reference to France and “etc.” from the style. It was suggested to him that he assume the title “Emperor”, but he rejected the proposal. Instead, the style became “King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith”.

King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith

In 1876 “Empress of India” was added to Queen Victoria’s titles by the Royal Titles Act 1876, so that the Queen of the United Kingdom, the ruler…

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Supreme Court wades back into the murky Clean Water Act


Since the 1980s, Maui County’s wastewater treatment plant has discharged millions of gallons of recycled water into groundwater. Over several months, this pollution migrates to the ocean where it affects the health of coral reefs. Under the Clean Water Act, any addition of any pollutant from any point source to a navigable water requires a costly and time-consuming permit. Yet the county has never obtained a permit, believing that the conveyance of the pollution by groundwater rather than a pipe rendered the permit requirement inapplicable.

This week, the Supreme Court confronted the question whether a permit is required. But, if the oral argument is any indication, the answer is anything but clear. And that opaqueness raises significant concerns about how pollution can be addressed effectively while also giving fair notice to property owners. Although the Court’s consideration was limited to the statute as it exists today, the debate…

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Tirole on the #GFC as a textbook financial crisis

Jeff King and Stephen Tierney: The Constitution Committee Reports on the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill

UK Constitutional Law Association

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill will make no further progress before the general election. The Bill is however of potentially huge constitutional significance, and a new government could well look to pass it quickly. It was therefore imperative that it be subjected to parliamentary scrutiny in the short period between its forestalled second reading on 22 October and Parliament’s dissolution on 6 November.

On this basis the House of Lords Constitution Committee on Tuesday published an interim report on the Bill. The Committee makes clear that it does not pass judgement on the policy issues in the Bill or those related to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) more broadly. But such is its complexity that it sees value in both explaining the purpose and effect of the Bill and in exploring at this stage the technical legal challenges that the Bill seeks to address.


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