Saving threatened habitats worldwide

For the environment, less is always more

10 July, 2013 - 09:47 -- John Burton

I have always considered privatising monopolies such as water and energy as illogical in environmental terms.

In the private sector the only way a company can add to its profits is either by increasing its margins (increase price, decrease costs or both) or by selling more. And this is where it all goes wrong, because in the case of water and energy, in order for the supplier to sell more, tariffs are structured so that the more you use, the cheaper it gets.

Big industrial giants that require huge amounts of water or energy are able to negotiate lower tariffs. But the logical thing would be for the charges to get higher the more you use. In fact for small domestic users (generally those near the poverty line) it might make sense to make the lower band free, as the administrative costs are probably greater than the income.

So what’s this got to do with wildlife and conservation?

Energy demands are behind the massive expansion of bio-fuels. These in turn are fuelling the destruction of massive amounts of habitat. Likewise, water is becoming a scarce resource and across the world water sources vital for wildlife are become depleted. Make energy and water more expensive and we would use less.

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