The Conservative Case for Clean Air Regulations
Karl W. Smith
Skepticism of government regulation is one of the main tenets of economic conservatism, and for the most part is it justified. In one area, however, conservatives need to rethink their position: New research shows that air pollution is much deadlier than previously realized, so they should support greater government efforts to reduce it.
Conservatives have long been dubious about the benefits of stricter regulations on air pollution. Whereas they used to find fault with the methodology detailing the harms of pollution, lately they have focused on the negative impact of regulation on jobs…
That may be true. But the latest research, using huge data sets and extensive computational analysis, is adding new levels of subtlety to the argument for regulation. Even a modest shift in wind patterns, for example, can send enough pollution into major metropolitan areas to have a measurable impact on mortality.