Role Of Government Intervention In Environmental Issues

Essay, Research Paper

Role of Government Intervention in Environmental Issues

In environmental cases, a policy framework is sometimes more effective

when there is less government intervention. As the level of government

intervention diminishes, this allows more flexibility for corporations to

achieve efficiency. Furthermore the traditional command and control approach

has proven to be costly, bureaucratic and often inefficient.

It is important to address the fact that there are numerous benefits that can

be achieved for both policy makers and industries, if a policy framework is

based on market forces. However it is important that there is a need for some

government intervention, but should be as minimal as possible.

I have chosen to examine the article from the New York Times entitled

RU.S. Seeking Options of Pollution RulesS. Although pollution is detrimental to

our environment, you have to take into account that it is almost impossible to

entirely prevent pollution. This is scientifically impossible and it would have

severely negative economic impact on the industries. So the core issue becomes

the fact no matter what, there will always be pollution, as long as these

industries exist. So we should focus on how we can minimize this and yet at the

same time have an efficient market system? Furthermore, we should also focus on

how we can accomplish this so that sustainable growth and development can take

place. So there is definitely a need for some form of government intervention

to enforce and monitor this. Reason being that there is always an element of

equality that has to be enforced, when dealing with cases such as this. For

instance, larger corporations may have an advantage over smaller corporation,

since they have stronger influence on politicians and lobbyists. So the

governmentUs role should be to ensure that all industries (regardless size

and/or power) have equal opportunities to benefit from this type of approach.

In another words, the government should simply be a RwatchdogS. Government

should monitor so that the distribution and transaction of the permits are done

in an appropriate manner.

The case of Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Corporation is a classic

example of tradable permit approach. Under this model corporations are able to

buy, sell and trade permits that legally allows emission. Many economists have

favored this approach because this also provides incentives for technical

improvement. So the aggregate effect would be that most industries would try to

maximize their profits by trying to come up with new techniques to reduce the

level of emission. This in turn would allow them to reduce the cost that they

would have to pay from polluting. Norm Miller also endorses this approach by

stating that Rperformance-based approaches are more efficient, both for industry

and for governmentS.

Allowing a company to devise and manage their own pollution control

plan is another effective (and Rde-regulativeS) approach. In the article, this

was exemplified in an Arizona based company called Intel. Individual companies

such as Intel knows what is best for the company. This means that each

individual companies know what the best equipment is and what the best

procedures are to achieve established standards. Rather than having the

government telling them what to do, the people at Intel were able to devise

their own plan. This saved them a great amount of time with out the usual

cumbersome, bureaucratic procedures. The Intel company, in this case, bought

the effluent from the cityUs waste water treatment plan. This allows

corporations to work more closely with the local communities. Usually, the

result is that both parties would benefit and even achieve a common goal.

There are, however, potential problems that may occur from this.

Although we can presume that market forces will allow everything to work itself

out, it may still promote degradation. Reason being that, under this model

there is still a notion of Ryou can pollute as long as you can pay for itS. So

if a great number of corporations are financially able to pay for their level of

emission, the aggregate effect on our environment would be devastating. Under

this model, it is also difficult to penalize the polluters. Where as under the

command and control approach, severe fine or even imprisonment can be imposed to

prevent pollution. There is also a possibility that this may lead to

individualistic attitude. In a competitive market, everybody (or every

corporation) tries to maximize their gain by acting in an individualistic manner.

Individualistic type of behavior has been known to lead to greater level of

environmental degradation.

Market based approach is definitely an economically liberal (and also

RReagan-esqueS) approach, since there is the Rhands-offS notion. But if the

initial framework is implemented in an appropriate manner, this can turn out to

be very flexible, user friendly and environmentally friendly approach.

In my opinion, government role should simply be initiating, implementing and

monitoring with minimum regulatory intervention. However, government should set

forth some sort of environmental goal before implementing a regulation. If this

prevails, it will allow growth in a sustainable manner.


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