An Environmental Reading List

Prepared by Jerry Taylor

Read This First

  • Eco-Nomics by Richard Stroup ( Washington : Cato Institute, 2003)
    Explains why property rights, the rule of law, and free markets matter if you care about environmental quality.

On Libertarian Approaches to Environmental Protection

  • Free Market Environmentalism by Terry Anderson and Donald Leal (New York: Palgrave, 2001)
    An overview of free-market approaches to various environmental issues which argues that private property is preferable to bureaucratic mandates to solve envionmental problem.
  • “Redirecting the Environmental Movement” by Peter Van Doren (Regulation vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 44-48, 2000)
    This review of Peter Huber’s book Hard Green argues that libertarians should not reflexively oppose environmentalist preferences regarding natural resources.
  • Through Green-Colored Glasses: Environmentalism Reconsidered by Wilfred Beckerman (Washington: Cato Institute, 1996).
    A robust critique of the environmentalist agenda that—while touching on various scientific disputes—defends free markets as the best way to ensure that demands for environmental quality are met.
  • Cato Symposium on Pollution (Papers published in Cato Journal , vol. 2 no. 1, Spring 1982)
    Detailed and technical papers on environmental protection, including contributions from Richard Epstein and Murray Rothbard.

Skepticism about Environmentalist Claims

  • Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media by Patrick Michaels (Cato Institute, 2004).
    Reviews the science surrounding global climate change and argues that - while the phenomenon is real and is likely driven somewhat by industrial emissions - much of the parade of horribles associated with warming does not withstand careful examination.
  • “Sustainable Development: A Dubious Solution in Search of a Problem,” by Jerry Taylor (Policy Analysis no. 449, Cato Institute, August 26, 2002).
    A cogent critique of the over-hyped and under-defined concept of “sustainable development.”
  • The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjorn Lomborg ( New York : Cambridge University Press, 2001).
    A careful and comprehensive critique of the apocalyptic claims of the environmentalist left.
  • The Precautionary Principle by Indur Goklany (Cato Institute, 2001).
    Disputes the environmentalist claim that new technologies should be banned until proven safe, arguing that innovation and economic growth are vital to long-term environmental protection and human happiness.
  • The Ultimate Resource 2 by Julian Simon (Princeton University, 1998).
    Argues that human ingenuity is the ultimate resource because human beings can adapt to the natural resources they have available to them.