Friday, May 29, 2015

EFN Asia 48: Report on "Free Market Environmentalism"

Last week,  Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia and Friedrich  Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) participated at the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity 2015, with its own session about free market environmentalism, held  last May 21 afternoon.

Welcoming Remarks were given by Rolf Mafael, German Ambassdor to S. Korea, and Siegfried Herzog (speaking in this photo), FNF Regional Director for Southeast and East Asia, based in Bangkok, Thailand.

Session speaker was Dr. Oyun Sanjaasuren, President of the UN Environmental Assembly; Former Minister, Mongolia’s Ministry of Environment and Green Development.

Panelists were:
(a) Henning Hoene, Member of Parliament, North Rhine-Westphalia; Spokesperson for Climate & Environmental Protection, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection,
(b) Sunil Rasaily, Founding Partner, QED Consulting Group, Bhutan; and
(c) Dr Yun Sangho, Research Fellow, Division of Public Policy Research, Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI).

Moderator was Matthias Grabner of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce in S. Korea.

Photo below, from left: Sungho (hidden), Rasaily, Hoene, Sanjaasuren, and Grabner.


Rapporteur’s Report
by Miklos Romandy, FNF Southeast and East Asia office, Bangkok

Session 4-C: “Free Market and Environmentalism: Why They Should Love Each Other”

- The world population stands at about 7 billion today. The UN predicts that by mid-century it will have grown to more than 9 billion. This will lead to an immeasurable growth in resource consumption and put significant pressure on the planet. If this trend continues then “business as usual” has to be changed in order to sustain further growth.

- The Asia-Pacific region consumes more than 50% of the world’s resources and is responsible for more than 50% of world-wide emissions.

- It is important to keep in mind that pollution “knows no boundaries”. Therefore, environmental protection has to be viewed as a global concern that can only be achieved through international cooperation, using the most efficient means.

- Keywords: resource consumption, pollution, environmental protection, cooperation,

 (Policy Suggestion & Lessons)

- The role of governance (e.g. through regulations or incentives) is very important in succeeding to protect the environment and bring about sustainable development. But lasting success can only be achieved if businesses embrace sustainable practices. This is where free market practices come in. A good example is the European Union Emission Trading Scheme because it is an incentive for businesses to be more efficient and clean.

- To achieve environmental protection solely through regulatory means can be problematic, for example in developing countries where extractive businesses (e.g. mining) are often state-owned. This leads to the government’s being both a regulator and an operator (through ownership) and therefore to a conflict of interest.

- Environmental protection can therefore be better achieved by a market-based approach, meaning that businesses should be given the incentive to regulate themselves. Market forces compel businesses to become more efficient and less wasteful. This argument is supported by a recent study by the Heritage Foundation which shows the clear correlation between economic freedom and environmental protection. Economically free countries perform better when it comes to environmental protection.

- Market-based approaches to environmental protection should be supplemented by regulatory measures only where it is necessary for governments to step in.

Below, from left:  ???, Lars-Andre Richter, FNF Country Director for S. Korea, Sungho, Pett Jarupaiboon, EFN Asia Program Manager in Bangkok, Sanjaasuren, Ms. Kim of FNF-Korea, Hoene, Rasaily, Herzog, Grabner, and Miklos Romandy.

Thanks to Pett for sending me the report. All photos here are from the FNF regional office's facebook page. The Rapporteur's Reports in the past two EFN Asia sessions are here:

Jeju Forum 2013: Dealing with Economic Nationalism, June 03, 2013 
Jeju Forum 2014: Globalization and Inequality, Jeju Forum 2014, June 02, 2014


See also:
EFN Asia 46: A Young Korean's Reflections of Conference 2014 in Hong Kong, February 10, 2015 
EFN Asia 47, Participation in Jeju Forum 2015, May 08, 2015

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