It can be a bit lonely working on environmental issues from the "right" side of the political spectrum. Environmental academics and activists rarely have much patience (let alone sympathy) for principles that would limit the scope of government power and few conservatives or libertarians take environmental issues seriously. Some of my friends on the right seem to think that any environmental problem the market cannot magically solve must be a hoax. There's no doubt many environmental threats have been exaggerated, and the capacity of traditional regulatory institutions to address environmental concerns is often oversold, but serious environmental problems remain, and they should be addressed. Yet in the political sphere, those on the right either oppose every environmental measure with a reactionary fervor or they insist that whatever we do, we just have to make it cost a bit less. Neither is a satisfactory response. Blind opposition to the Sierra Club's agenda does not an environmental policy make. Nor is there a compelling case for always doing environmental initiatives on the cheap. Across the aisle, unfortunately, concerns for regulatory costs and limitations are viewed with equal suspicion.
As illustrated in the past three posts, much of my work explores the possibility and potential of a "pro-environment" policy agenda that is consistent with principles of limited government. This sort of approach is often characterized as "free market environmentalism" or "FME." This moniker may be a bit of a misnomer in that it emphasizes the "market" rather than the underlying set of institutions upon which markets - and sound conservation - both depend, but it certainly communicates the idea of trying to reconcile free enterprise and environmental protection through the recognition and protection of property rights in environmental resources.