My interest in libertarian environmentalism began when I was in grad school at the London School of Economics, where I studied free market solutions to endangered species protection in Namibia. The incredible success of Namibia’s conservancies, compared to the abysmal recovery rates under command-and-control regulations, has greatly influenced my thinking on environmental issues.
Defining libertarian environmentalism is easier said than done, but a few basic principles underlie it. First, incentives matter. The knee jerk impulse to treat regulation as the solution to every environmental problem often backfires, by punishing behavior that benefits the environment. Second, secure property rights are a necessary, if not always sufficient, condition for responsible resource use and conservation. And, finally, where environmental regulation is appropriate, the best system will ensure that whoever benefits from the regulation also bears the costs. Internalizing those costs prevents regulations from being more burdensome than necessary. Needless to say, much of modern environmental law fares very poorly under these principles.
At PLF, my practice focuses on environmental and property rights litigation, particularly involving the Endangered Species and Clean Water Acts. You can find out more about my work at PLF here. I’ve also written several law review articles on the intersection of environmental law, property rights, and liberty, which are available here.