Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1117564
 
 

Footnotes (78)



 


 



Ecosystem Subsidies of Fossil Fuels


David Hodas


Widener University - School of Law

April 1, 2007

Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law, Vol. 22, No. 2, 2007
Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-37

Abstract:     
Ecosystems provide the invaluable service of collecting and storing solar energy as fossil fuels (e.g., coal, petroleum, and natural gas). These concentrated forms of energy were gifted to us by the sun and collected and stored for our use by ancient ecosystem services. However, our legal and economic systems fail to recognize the value of this ecosystem service that is embedded in fossil fuels. As a result, society uses fossil fuels as though they were free and inexhaustible. This market failure means that fossil fuels are being consumed more quickly than they can be replenished, which in turn has affected the world's environment. This ecosystem services price subsidy had led to overuse and waste of the resource in the free market, which would not be occurring if the price of the fossil fuels included the cost of its manufacture by the world's ecosystems.

Ironically, almost none of the literature on ecosystem services, including some of the groundbreaking work of the late 1990s, considers fossil fuels in this context. Until we begin to understand stored energy as an ecosystem service, we cannot reasonably expect to manage our fossil fuel energy resources sustainably. Current international and domestic energy law and policy nearly completely ignores this feature of fossil fuel energy. The ultimate consequences of this disconnect are not just a matter of concern to energy policy, but are of the utmost significance to national security as well.

This Article proposes that it is necessary to value the ecosystem services that manufactured fossil fuels, and to find a legal mechanism to internalize that value into the marketplace, either as a cost on the fossil fuel resource or a subsidy on renewable energy alternatives that seek to collect solar energy and convert it into a usable form. The Article concludes by considering a legal decision-making model as an example of how to incorporate ecosystem service values into energy decision-making.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 25

Keywords: fossil fuels, ecosystems, environmental law, energy, global warming, climate change

JEL Classification: K32, Q4

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: April 8, 2008 ; Last revised: May 25, 2013

Suggested Citation

Hodas, David, Ecosystem Subsidies of Fossil Fuels (April 1, 2007). Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law, Vol. 22, No. 2, 2007; Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-37. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1117564

Contact Information

David Hodas (Contact Author)
Widener University - School of Law ( email )
4601 Concord Pike
P.O. Box 7286
Wilmington, DE 19803-0474
United States
302 477 2186 (Phone)
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 2,904
Downloads: 551
Download Rank: 27,198
Footnotes:  78

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo6 in 0.297 seconds