Thoughts on Energy Production

Greetings all.  After a hiatus, much of which I spent in a wilderness area with no internet or cellular phone service, I am back and ready to continue writing.  Today, I figured I discuss the issue of energy, which came up in multiple conversations that I was involved in during the hiatus.

I do not share the same enthuisasm for nuclear power that so many mainstream liberals and libertarians do.  I may prefer it to some alternatives such as coal (which aside from being  abundant source of energy is also the most environmentally damaging), but I still hate the idea of what could happen if there is an accident,  not to mention the fact that it is very much a byproduct of the millitary industrial complex and made profitable largely due to government assistance in insuring it and imposing caps on liability.

This brings me to what I see is the main problem.  In the curent system externalities accumulate because the state shelters extraction companies/energy providers from liability, grants them access to governtment (aka stolen) land and select energy sources for us in a beauty contest-like fashion.

What I instead propose is this:

1.  No use of eminent domain to give access to land to extraction companies or energy companies.  Simply put, if a firm wants to use a plot of land for a power plant or extraction purposes they should pay the indivudals who have been living on it in full.  As I have argued elsewhere, individuals, should be able to make unused land their owns by squatting or homesteading it, and companies that wish to use such land, should have to pay compensate those who occupy and use it.

2.  No caps on liability.  I beleive that if the decision making of some one in an energy company causes damage to the health, or property of others, or even to comonly shared resources (such as in the emphamous BP Oil Spill) than the individuals responsible should be required to pay for it.  This means liquidating the personal fortunes of those with decision making power to pay for damages they have done.

3.  No subsidies to energy production or extraction: this means government contracts, wars for oil ect.  My logic here is that if state policy does give some fuel sources artificial advantage over other ones and as mentioned above everyone has to pay for the negative environmentally impact they cause, it will exert greater pressure on developing cleaner lower empact energy technology and promote the most efficient combination of energy sources, and energy conservation.

In other words I favor doing what ever we can to allow anyone harmed in anyway by energy use or extraction to push for and recieve damages, I favor requiring all parties pay the full price for the damage their actions cuase to others and I am against governments engaging in sweetheart deals that make some forms of make shelter various energy providers or extractors from competition.

As I noted before, coal may be about as dirty a fuel source as there is, but it is the cheapest one available under the current system.  If the parties involved have to pay the full price of it’s use then, I do not beleive this is the case.  Additionally, I suspect nuclear power would become much more expensive if the companies involved would have to pay the full of insuring it, especially if there were no limits on liability.  Ideally, I would like to think that a world where everyone pays the full cost of the energy they use would provide the impetus for the technological advances needed to make renewable alternatives like wind and solar, competitive.

There is of course the issue of global warming, which nearly all the relevant scientists insist is a clear and present issue that needs to be addressed.  I am interested in finding voluntary means for combatting its predicited ill effects, and I am opinion to any proposals on this and will expand on what few ideas I can think of in tomorrow’s post.

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