46| Restoration Economy, Part Two: The Billion-Dollar Foot

74 minutes

It's an article of faith among some on the left that markets and capitalism are the roots of all evil, while some on the right see pure, free markets as the invisible hand of God, and regulation as the work of the Devil.

Most economists will tell you they're both wrong, because there's no such thing as either a pure free market or a marketless society. We need markets to get things done, and we need governance to keep markets honest. 

That's especially true in environmental markets, which almost always exist because of laws that require people to clean up their messes or reduce their pollution.

To slow climate change, for example, we have to put a cap on greenhouse-gas emissions, but how do we meet that cap?

There are basically two ways.

In command-and-control, a regulator writes up detailed, step-by-step prescriptions that have to be followed to the letter.

In cap-and-trade, which is a market-based mechanism, emitters find their own way of meeting the cap, and they're allowed to sell emission-reductions to others if they reduce more than the law requires. On the other hand, they also have to buy emission-reductions if they fail to meet their obligations.

If you're a regular listener, you know that carbon is just one of many environmental markets that are helping to fuel a $25 billion per year restoration economy, and that's just in the United States, as companies and municipalities rush to restore degraded rivers, forests, and other ecosystems on which our entire economy depends.

Environmental markets, however, don't replace regulation. What they do is provide flexibility in meeting regulatory requirements.

They work, and they work well, but only if properly regulated.

Unfortunately, regulators have seen their budgets frozen or even cut -- ostensibly to reduce costs. The result, ironically, isn't just less protection, but higher costs of compliance.

Today's Guests:

Todd BenDor, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Jason Brenner, RiverBank

Murray Starkel, Ecological Service Partners

Jud Hill, Ecological Service Partners

Dave Groves, Earth Partners

More episodes from Bionic Planet: Reversing Climate Change by Restoring Nature

073 | Why the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests may be More than Blah Blah, with Frances Seymour

A conversation with WRI Senior Fellow Frances Seymour, who says there's plenty of reason to believe the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and …

072 | Investing in Pure Climate Stocks, with Matthias Krey

From year-end climate talks in Glasgow:

Want to put your money where your mouth is by investing in companies that move us closer to a net-zero economy?

Matthias Krey of …

071 | The Down and Dirty, Nitty Gritty of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, Part 1

On the ground at year-end climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, Maria Carvalho and Frédéric Gagnon-Lebrun of South Pole Climate Solutions dissect the …

Climate Quickie 1: Leveraging Restoration for Net Zero Tourism Worldwide

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which is the United Nations specialized agency charged with promoting sustainable tourism, today unveiled the “Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action …

069 | The False Dichotomy of Reductions vs Removals, with Eli Mitchell-Larson

We need to slash greenhouse-gas emissions while supporting activities that remove greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere, and carbon markets can both accelerate reductions and ramp up …

068 | Carbon Exchanges and Green Supply Chains: The Future of Natural Climate Solutions

Biologists, economists, and environmental activists often seem like members of warring tribes, but Gabriel Eickhoff, CEO of Lestari Capital, says …

How you can listen to this podcast

You can listen to episodes right here on the website, or if you prefer, in a podcast app. Listening in an app makes it easier to keep track of what you’ve already heard, listen without using your data plan and many other conveniences.

Recommended apps
Start listening to 073 | Why the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests may be More than Blah Blah, with Frances Seymour
36:27
Start listening to 073 | Why the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests may be More than Blah Blah, with Frances Seymour
36:27