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Reason Foundation

Can water markets stop climate change?

Samuel Staley
March 12, 2008, 8:38am

Probably not, but Case Western University law professor's Jonathan Adler makes an excellent case for why they should be considered a key climate adaptation strategy.
This article argues that climate change, and its projected effects on water use and supply, calls for a fundamental reexamination of water institutions. In particular, this article suggests that market-based institutions are well suited to address the additional pressures on water supplies due to climate change. Many aspects of water markets, including their flexibility, decentralized nature, and ability to create and harness economic incentives, make them particularly well suited to address the uncertain water forecast. A gradual shift toward water marketing and market pricing will improve the management of water supplies, ensure more efficient allocation of available water supplies and encourage cost-effective conservation measures.
An application to urban planning can be found on my Planetize blog post here:

Samuel Staley is Research Fellow


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