(rubbing hands together) How deep down the rabbit hole shall I go?
Short form. The Government's proper role in protecting the environment is no role at all. In fact, the Government's proper role is a bookshelf, as a part of a really DETAILED encyclopedia of long term folly. It is my firm belief that if humanity survives, it will be with the abolition of central government. It's concept damned for all eternity, and regularly discussed lest people forget.
Nobody likes to shit where they eat. NOBODY. Corporate and Government pollution are relics, maintained because they are AFRAID to change, AND get massive kickbacks and opportunities to loot BECAUSE of the enforced and archaic regulations.
Regulate in the old sense, in particular to set standards AS A REFERENCE, makes perfect sense. Organizations that did this would have to be sensitive to changes in technology and scales of economy. Yet the trend, even prior to pollution laws, was always to find ways to clean up manufacturing processes. It was not uniform nor regular. It is usually more efficient to produce less waste in ANY process. But humans don't design that way. We figure out the crude way to do something. We establish the possible. THEN we improve it!
There is a vast, largely untapped market out there for effective control of pollution. I'm part of it. I love the outdoors. And I'd no sooner regulate industry and pollution by force then I would deliberately shoot off my pecker.
Most people I've met feel the way I do. If we thought it would do a damn thing for the problem, we'd go out of our way to buy recycled goods, even though more expensive at present, we'd try to find new ways of production that are less polluting and more efficient, and we would outcompete those who failed to keep up.
Yet it's not happening like that. The old ways, especially in the East where I currently live, are kept alive artificially by both regulations that make impossible demands and exemptions for existing facilities. Both hamper the improvement of the environment DIRECTLY.
Where these regulations don't exist or are much less, factories and mines tend to VOLUNTARILY be built and improved to exacting standards, often the state of the art in pollution control. Even where it's required by force, new factories in areas that are not traditionally given to heavy industry are built BETTER than the regulation requires. But because of the lobbying going on, along with often stupidly obvious scams disguised loosely as "environmental regulations" that stipulate EQUIPMENT instead of results, a great deal of time, money, and resources are wasted and polluted instead of allowing industry to figure it out on their own. The issue has been raised, the cry has been heard, and if you give an engineer a problem to solve, he will. If you give him a problem to solve with SPECIFIC EQUIPMENT with no or little variation involved, you likely increase the problems.
I'll give you a specific example. I can't recall who invented the thing, but in 1974 a law was passed requiring EGR systems on all new vehicles manufactured in the United States and imported from certain countries. (others were exempt do to various treaties and agreements. Even in this, the law utterly failed to be uniform). Problem was, it didn't work very well. It did, as advertised, reduce the specific emissions BY RATIO in the exhaust gasses of the vehicles so equipped. Sounds ok so far, right?
WRONG. EGR systems severely reduced the efficiency of the engine. So while the RATIO was smaller, given how much more fuel the car consumed, the actual AMOUNT Of pollution was DIRECTLY increased by this idiotic law.
To the credit of the engineers in the automotive industry, they did eventually make EGR systems work. But it required the invention of the engine manangement system, to whit computers, to even START to get the kinks out. The technology to make it work was simply not available at the time the law was passed. They would have been better off funding research on the damn things as ONE possible avenue to emissions reduction. It's hardly the only way. In 1999, a Honda Civic model met the ULEVIII standard in exhaust emissions and fuel efficiency, yet was initially denied entry into the united states. Yet that standard is JUST NOW a legal mandate. It was denied on the basis of not having a standard EGR system. They did it radically different and reduced the horsepower and efficiency losses tremendously, while emitting both less by volume AND ratio of the specific gasses that the EGR system is supposed to contain.
But the equipment was not "approved" by our government EVEN THOUGH IT DEMONSTRABLY WORKED. In one of the rare instances of Justice prevailing over Law, Honda et al. won that lawsuit and were able to import the car. Their innovation is now standard on most cars. Think how far we'd get if EVERY engineer with balls, brains, and a budget were set to working on the problem WITHOUT constraint! Why specify EGR, when you can merely specify the desired outcome? Brilliant people have brilliant ideas. It's what they do. Restricting them with stupid regulations makes for stupid outcomes. Even when well intentioned. Most of the political environmental movement doesn't have good intentions. They are in fact traitors to the human race, and openly so. Almost all of the "mainstream" environmental agitators and absolutely all of the fringe ones favor the vast reduction of the human race and curtailment of reproduction. In short, they think we haven't the right to exist.
I am deeply concerned about the environment. I don't think we can truly harm the earth, in the long term, but we can harm ourselves a great deal. Using government, the largest enabler of pollution that has ever existed, to combat the problem makes about as much sense as putting your dick in a meat grinder.
But Free Men are concerned about the issue. A whole lot of us are. Should we gain the freedom to act, WE WILL SOLVE IT! And we'll create new problems. And we'll solve them, too. It's what we do.
The only reason I do not favor a violent, armed revolution is that too many good people would be killed, and another fucking government would probably come out the other end. This is why I'm an agorist. Subversion, competition, and open contempt are better weapons than the arms that we still need for Mr. Justin Case.