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From Richard Epstein’s recent excellent article “Containing Climate Change Hysteria“:
As the Wall Street Journal has noted, the level of carbon efficiency in the United States has improved vastly in the last decade because of innovations that predate the Paris Accords (see chart). That trend will continue.
Traditional forms of pollution generate two forms of loss, which are addressed by current laws.
- Nothing about the Trump decision exempts domestic U.S. polluters from federal and state environmental laws and lawsuits that target their behavior. It is precisely because these laws are enforced that coal, especially dirty coal, has lost ground to other energy sources.
- Pollution is itself inefficient, for it means that the offending firms have not effectively utilized their production inputs. They can do better by higher yields from improved production processes. These two drivers toward cleaner air and water—one external, one internal—explain why American technological innovation will continue unabated after Paris.