July 9, 2007I've said it a million times: Recycling isn't environmentally beneficial if it uses more resources than it saves. That is why many government-mandated recycling programs are often wasteful. However, many people still don't get it. A recent blog post by Duke University political scientist Michael Munger offers yet more examples on why a blind devotion to recycling makes no sense environmentally or economically. It's worth checking out.
July 7, 2007The July issue of National Geographic features an excellent cover story on malaria. It notes the importance of DDT, highlights many problems with relying on bed nets alone, and even takes on Rachel Carson a little bit. The editor's note (on page 4) opens with a personal story of contracting malariaâ€¦because a bed net had a hole in it. The story notes:
Malaria is a confounding disease—often, it seems, contradictory to logic....Rachel Carson, the environmental icon, is a villain; her three-letter devil, DDT, is a savior...In 1962 Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, documenting this abuse and painting so damning a picture that the chemical was eventually outlawed by most of the world for agricultural use. Exceptions were made for malaria control, but DDT became nearly impossible...
July 2, 2007The Business and Media Institute reports that the greens are trying again to use the nation's national symbol—the Bald Eagle—to undermine free-markets. The Bald Eagle, which was recently removed from the Endangered Species list, faces another "dire" threat according to reports on "NBC Nightly News" and other news outlets. This time, the alleged culprit is sprawl.
"Urban sprawl has become the DDT of our generation,” biologist Bryan D. Watts noted in The Richmond Times Dispatch. According to Watts, the problem is free-market pressures and his "solution" involves regulating a lot more land. Ironically, it's not even clear how much impact DDT has had on the birds (the indoor uses for malaria control do not...
June 30, 2007Kimberly Ann Elliot, senior fellow with the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics, contended that labor and environmental standards do have role to play, but that the FTAs are too intrusive as they are now. She claimed that the US does not do anything to have a true positive effect on the actual enforcement of labor laws. It is indeed anti-democratic and patronizing to force democracies to adopt certain standards by FTAs. However, she did not want to say that the the agreements was not worth the deal.
The person with the most libertarian approach to trade was Avind Panagariya, Jagdish Bhagwati Professor of Indian Political Economy at Columbia University. He contended that most of the partners the US has chosen are not the ones to choose if we actually want to improve free trade. If this was the case, we should focus on larger nations like Brazil and China. The FTAs...
June 28, 2007In the aftermath of the bipartisan deal between the Democrats and the Bush Administration, the question is whether the new enforceable environmental and ILO labor standards that are included in FTAs are the tipping point where they are overstretching into domestic affairs. Yesterday, AEI held an interesting panel discussion about this called “The Bipartisan Trade Bargain: Is the Deal Worth It?”
According to Jack K. Veroneau, deputy United States trade representative, the answer is no. We had the same discussion when the Jordan FTA was negotiated in which both the US and Jordan committed themselves to enforce domestic laws. This was not the end of the world as many conservative commentators contended, and so will these provisions not be a problem. We need the labor provisions to offset disruptive effects of...
June 28, 2007Today on CEI's Rachelwaswrong.org blog, Barun Mitra of the Liberty Institute (New Delhi, India) makes a plea for greater awareness about malaria's victims and the need for DDT. His comments are compelling and worth repeating here:
It is good news that the demand for DDT to fight malaria is on the rise. Last year, India's government exported their first consignment of DDT in almost 20 years to Eritrea and Mozambique. This year they doubled their shipments from last year and expect orders from more African countries soon. The competition in the international market—China being the sole exporter in the past decade—has already brought the price down by almost a half. U.S. funds to fight malaria are being used by some of the African countries to explore the DDT option.
Yet, DDT's life...
June 27, 2007A story in today's Mail and Guardian, an online African newspaper, highlights First Lady Laura Bush's trip to Africa, where she is "shining a spotlight on malaria and aids." The story offers great insights into the malaria crisis and the dire impacts of activist campaigns that prevent DDT spraying. Some sections are worth quoting:
'We need DDT because there is no other insecticide which is as effective and can be used so successfully to control malaria,' said Pierre Guillet, of the WHO's anti-malaria campaign in Geneva
The WHO long promoted insecticide treated nets as the main preventive weapon against malaria. But the stubbornly high death toll—and the success of DDT-spraying in countries such as South Africa and Swaziland in virtually eradicating the...
June 25, 2007Everywhere businesses are going green, but no firm will ever be green enough for the greens. According to an article in today's New York Times, alleged green products currently being marketed by Home Depot don't measure up—and many probably never will.
Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and other firms focused on “green marketing” simply undermine their own businesses and the products they sell when the label some green and others not. Even the so-called “green products” suffer as groups like the Sierra Club label them nothing more that the result of “greenwashing.”
One alleged problem is that there “are few verifiable or certified standards to substantiate claims.” Accordingly, Home Depot is working with a company that will do “life cycle analysis” to determine each product's impact. Sounds expensive—and you can...
June 22, 2007New York City Lawmakers are all worked up about garbage. It should be simple to collect and dispose of waste, even in a big city. But when it a government project, it becomes a major crisis.
New York officials manage waste using 20-year plans—much like the economic plans that the Soviets used “manage” their economy. The waste plans work about as well. They are subject to never-ending political wrangling.
In the late 1990s, the closing of the city's "Fresh Kills" landfill in Staten Island led to an uproar elsewhere as New York increased trash exports to Virginia landfills. But that doesn't work politically, so New York officials want to export less. To that end, they plan to continue the city's expensive and inefficient recycling program, which Mayors Michael Bloomberg, David Dinkins, and Rudy Giuliani all unsuccessfully tried...
June 12, 2007In today's Wall Street Journal Uganda's director of Health Services Sam Zaramba points out the perils of anti-DDT campaigns to his country. He notes:
"Misguided environmentalists are killing Africans ... Environmental leaders must join the 21st century, acknowledge the mistakes Carson made, and balance the hypothetical risks of DDT with the real and devastating consequences of malaria. Uganda has demonstrated that, with the proper support, we can conduct model indoor spraying programs and ensure that money is spent wisely, chemicals are handled properly, our program responds promptly to changing conditions, and malaria is brought under control."
Amen. Unfortunately, it is more likely that environmental activists will criticize the health minister for taking a stand. With any luck, Dr. Zaramba can continue to make progress fighting malaria in Uganda without the greens'...