Private property rights, strong institutions, regulatory efficiency, and open markets will drive economic growth and environmental performance in the right direction. Good governance and enforcing the rule of law are necessary to protect property rights and hold polluters accountable. Effective governments should direct public expenditures in ways that are responsive, transparent, outcome-based, and carefully weigh costs and benefits.
Importantly, bottom-up solutions driven by entrepreneurs, investors and consumer demand demonstrate that the private sector is in the best position to raise levels of prosperity and lower levels of pollution. Open, competitive markets will drive down green premiums to help developing countries grow their economies with a smaller environmental footprint. Technological advancements to reduce pollution should work together with eradicating economic poverty (including energy poverty and global hunger), because generating higher levels of wellbeing rightfully remains a priority for developing nations. A degrowth agenda that traps people in poverty is not an option. Conversely, a pro-growth agenda that decouples emissions will continue to make people better off while reducing human-caused environmental impacts.
As we strive to solve the world’s biggest economic and environmental challenges, policymakers from around the world must turn to the principles that make countries open, free societies. Free economies will provide the surest route to higher levels of human welfare and global environmental stewardship.
C3 Solutions would like to thank Senior Fellow and Advisory Board Member Mike Franc for his valuable contributions to this report.