The Motley Fool Discussion Boards

Previous Page

Miscellaneous / Climate Change


Subject:  Re: If you must argue with denialists.... Date:  1/24/2013  8:44 AM
Author:  albaby1 Number:  40417 of 91290

You miss it because there isn't any LEGAL way to assert ownership of your share of the atmosphere. Because the law is limited in that respect and you are by your argument, asserting that it should remain so.

There are many valid criticisms of libertarianism, but I'm not sure this is an accurate one.

You do not have ownership of 'your share' of the atmosphere. This is not merely the lack of a legal vehicle to assert that ownership - you do not have any property rights in the atmosphere.

The atmosphere is (for the most part) unowned. It is not owned the way a person can own real estate or chattel property. It isn't even owned the way that public parks or beaches or police cars are owned, with title vested in a governmental body that might hold it in 'trust' for the public. It is simply unowned.

We might speak of people having a 'share' in the atmosphere, or an interest in it - but that interest is not in the nature of a property right. It cannot be sold, conveyed, bartered, inherited, or devised. There is no right to control, no right to possess, no right to exclude others, and no right to consume. The atmosphere is a true commons, in which no one has a property right.

The irony is that libertarianism is often criticized (correctly IMHO) for arguing that commons should be subject to ownership as a way of getting more efficient use.

But it is wrong to accuse libertarians of being inconsistent by supporting the violation of "property rights" in the atmosphere in their resistance to climate change regulations. No one has property rights in the atmosphere, so there is no inconsistency.

Copyright 1996-2020 trademark and the "Fool" logo is a trademark of The Motley Fool, Inc. Contact Us