The 1AC is a privatization of the planning process of energy production via laissez-faire decentralization -- that is par excellence the idea of neoliberalism at work. Their aversion to central planning is part and partial of an ideological preference for "de-centralized" or, more accurately market-based solutions
MacNeil '12 Robert, Thesis submitted to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies In partial fulfillment of the requirements For the PhD degree in Political Science School of Political Studies Faculty of Social Sciences University of Ottawa © Robert MacNeil, Ottawa, Canada, 2012 "Neoliberal Climate Policy in the United States: From Market Fetishism to the Developmental State" http://www.ruor.uottawa.ca/en/bitstream/handle/10393/23587/Macneil_Robert_2012_thesis.pdf?sequence=1
A second and related preoccupation in the literature focuses on increased efforts to privatize and deregulate forms of environmental and resource management previously governed as common public utilities under the state (e.g. Bakker 2003; Robertson 2000, 2004; Mansfield 2004). As McCarthy and Prudham (2004) note, the intensification of efforts to privatize environmental management over the past three decades can be understood as part of a broader attack on the state-based regulatory approach to environmental protection developed and entrenched throughout the Keynesian welfare-state era. The result has been dramatic increases in “socially produced scarcity, growing inequality, and often accelerated depletion or degradation of the very resources market mechanisms were supposed to protect” (McCarthy 2005: 9). Authors in this tradition have focused primarily on the ways in which these efforts serve to undermine democratic accountability, ecological sustainability, and basic processes of social reproduction. Specific examples of this include water ownership and provision (Smith 2004; Swyngedouw 2005; Bakker 2003), wetlands (Robertson 2000, 2004), fisheries (St. Martin 2001; Mansfield 2004), wildlife (Robbins and Luginbuhl 2005); and forests (Correia 2005; McCarthy 2005). Neoliberalism and climate governance Extending the general logic outlined above, critical political economy literatures attempting to explain neoliberalism’s influence on climate policy have generally followed the neoliberal environments literature’s intense focus on the rise of privatization and commodification policies over the past few decades. Indeed, the primary theme in this literature is that, having emerged as a major political issue in the midst of neoliberalism’s ideological ascendency, policy responses to climate change have naturally been framed in terms of neoliberal ideology’s preference for market mechanisms and aversion to command-and-control policies (Liverman 2004; Newell and Paterson 2010; Lohmann 2005, 2006; Smith et al. 2005; Brunnengraber 2007; Bond and Data 2004; Begg et al. 2005). As Newell and Paterson describe, From early on, the debate [about climate policy] reflected the broad shift in the global economy towards the power of neoliberal ideology. In environmental policy debates more generally, there were changes during the 1980s towards the idea of using economic analysis and markets to achieve environmental goals… Cost-benefit analysis, it was argued, could allow [governments] to weigh the pros and cons of particular paths to pollution control and allocate values to them accordingly… promoting the idea that rather than develop policies which specified what technologies business and individuals must use, or to simply ban particular substances or processes (so-called ‘command and control’ policies) it would be better to use ‘market mechanisms’ to achieve environmental goals (2010: 24).
Ozzie Zehner is the author of Green Illusions and a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. His recent publications include public science pieces in Christian Science Monitor, The American Scholar, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, The Humanist, The Futurist, and Women’s Studies Quarterly. He has appeared on PBS, BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and regularly guest lectures at universities. Zehner’s research and projects have been covered by The Sunday Times, USA Today, WIRED, The Washington Post, Business Week and numerous other media outlets. He also serves on the editorial board of Critical Environmentalism.
Zehner primarily researches the social, political and economic conditions influencing energy policy priorities and project outcomes. His work also incorporates symbolic roles that energy technologies play within political and environmental movements. His other research interests include consumerism, urban policy, environmental governance, international human rights, and forgeries.
Zehner attended Kettering University (BS -Engineering) and The University of Amsterdam (MS/Drs – Science and Technology Studies). His research was awarded with honors at both institutions. He lives in San Francisco.
The Rebound Effect Phantom The nineteenth century brought us a collection of ghoulish and chilling immortals—the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and even Abraham Lincoln's phantom train, which has been heard leaving Washington DC late at night on a circuitous funeral route toward Springfield, Illinois, where it never arrives. It was during this era, in 1865, that a man named William Stanley Jevons wrote a book about a similar sort of phantom. His book, entitled The Coal Question, started out innocently enough. Jevons documented how James Watt's introduction of the steam engine greatly improved efficiency. Seems nice. But this increase in efficiency in turn made steam engines more popular and ultimately drove coal use ever higher.4 This rebound effect, also termed the "Jevons paradox," arises again and again in various incarnations throughout the history of energy use: Increases in energy efficiency make energy services relatively cheaper, encouraging greater consumption. Energy efficiency can actually lead to negative environmental impacts unless regions institute taxes, caps, or regulations to prevent growing consumption patterns from smothering efficiency gains. As long as energy-efficiency strategies come with checks to prevent the rebound effect, efficiency proponents argue that they are highly effective. For instance, new refrigerators use just a fraction of the energy of models sold decades ago, yet because there is a limit to the amount of refrigeration space one can fit in a kitchen, the benefits of efficiency are usually not usurped by the rebound effect. Similarly, there's no indication that drivers of small cars, who achieve twice the gasoline efficiency of those driving large vehicles, tend to drive twice as much as a result. And based on numerous case studies of businesses, Rocky Mountain Institute researchers claim, "We have not seen evidence that radically more efficient commercial buildings cause people to leave the lights on all night and set their office thermostats five degrees lower. In fact, energy savings in everything from office towers to schools have often been higher than projected. People do not seem to change their behaviors simply because they have a more efficient building."5 That's nice, too. But it's not the whole story. There's another problem. Even though energy consumers might not spend their efficiency savings to buy more energy, they may choose to spend these savings on other products or endeavors that still lead to energy consumption. In this case, energy-efficiency measures can unintentionally inspire other types of consumption, leaving overall energy footprints unchanged or even larger. This occurs at the macroeconomic level as well. In short, energy-efficiency savings frequently lead to larger profits, which spur more growth and thus higher energy consumption. For instance, another Rocky Mountain Institute study shows that reducing drafts, increasing natural light, and otherwise making workplaces more efficient, can increase worker productivity by as much as 16 percent.6 This higher productivity allows firms to grow, and the resulting labor cost savings can be spent on new machinery, buildings, or expansion. These rebound effects often dwarf the original energy-efficiency effects, leading to far greater overall energy consumption.7 In fact, the authors of a central report on the rebound effect conclude, "While the promotion of energy efficiency has an important role to play in achieving a sustainable economy, it is unlikely to be sufficient while rich countries continue to pursue high levels of economic growth."8 Thus, efficiency efforts will only prove effective as long as we institute contemporaneous reforms to move from a consumption-based economy to one grounded in sufficiency.
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