Look At It This Way (#LAITW)

The immorality of overspending on environmental protection

by on Sep.25, 2014, under Do the Math, Ethics / Morality

There’s a right size for everything. Both too much and too little can be too bad.

Money spent over protecting is money spent immorally. It’s money that would have been far better spent on real problems.

Let’s say that we can show that 2 ppm SO2 in the air is harmful. And, there is no evidence that 0.2 ppm SO2 in the air has any harmful effects. Requiring plants to scrub emissions to 0.02 ppm as opposed to 0.2 ppm is wasting money. And the amounts of money spent to get that “last little bit” can be outrageous compared to getting to a reasonable emission. The difference between the money spent getting to reasonable and getting to unreasonable is money immorally spent. It’s wrong to force the emitter to cough that much extra up, and it’s wrong to mandate that it be spent on “just in case”.

So, yes, the details matter. You do have to do the math. If the evidence changes regarding what’s harmful and what isn’t, then fine; reevaluate. Otherwise, find better fish to fry.

But then, I’m conservative.

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