Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I, for one, welcome our new technocratic, environmentalist, socialist overlords

Any group that successfully manages to perpetrate a hoax involving tens of thousands of individuals from all over the world... would sure be able to elect a politburo of unimagined efficiency.

Ninety-seven percent agreement collusion conspiracy among climate scientists? One can only imagine how effortlessly they will get the trains to run on time, or tame the business cycle.

The future never looked so bright.

[Note to self: File under right-wing paradoxes.]

Friday, May 17, 2013

Video - Fracking chat with David Zetland

I had a long video chat with David Zetland yesterday, where we discussed fracking, water pollution, property rights and a bunch of related issues. David's take on our talk is here.

Like many people, I find it very difficult to watch/listen to videos of myself. (Where did all those mannerisms come from??) Still, if you've ever wondered what a real South African accent sounds like, you're in for a treat!

In related news, the below video will act as supporting evidence for my submission as "the palest man in economics".

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Just clocked up our 30,000th pageview here at The Corral.

I feel that this a pretty respectable return for a (very) part-time hobby. It's certainly not something that I expected whilst penning that first post

Thanks to everyone who's visited, commented on, or linked to one of my posts. Apologies for the frequent lulls in blogging activity and severe lack of coherent subject matter!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fracking and water pollution

My new article for The Energy Collective is up: Hydraulic Fracking and Water Pollution.

There's much debate about whether shale gas "fracking" (i.e. hydraulic fracturing) poses a risk to our freshwater resources. However, alongside the fact that the water demands of fracking are relatively small compared to other uses, the available scientific evidence actually paints a fairly optimistic view of the situation. Thus far, no causal link between drilling activity and water pollution has been found -- despite researchers scrutinizing some pretty extensive data.

That said, water is so fundamental to our lives that it's entirely reasonable for residents to demand insurance against possible contamination. I give a brief overview of how property rights plays a key role in all of this, and my preferred regulatory framework for making sure that people are protected in the event of a dangerous leak.

Here's my conclusion:
It would be strangely naive to suggest that there are no potential risks to our water resources due to fracking activity. Like all energy sources, there are trade-offs to securing the benefits of shale gas and the possibility of water contamination is one of those. However, anti-fracking advocacy groups do their credibility few favours through the selective interpretation of – or pure disregard for – the existing scientific evidence, and what this actually says about the extent of these risks. Several comprehensive studies have thus far failed to establish any systematic relationship between drilling activity and water pollution. Important research is ongoing, but we clearly have reason to be optimistic at this stage. Regardless of the final outcome, I believe that such matters should be handled according to a clear regulatory framework that incorporates full liability and assures other stakeholders of the requisite contingency plans should an accident occur. After all, effective risk management is an entirely different animal to prior restraint.

Click through to read the full article.