by Jerome a Paris
Thu Jan 15th, 2009 at 08:52:57 AM EST
Hoon approves third Heathrow runway
Geoff Hoon gave an official stamp of approval on Thursday to £9bn plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport, despite a hard-fought campaign against the project by environmentalists and opposition MPs.
This is wrong in so many ways that it's hard to know where to start. Infrastructure spending drives economic and social behavior for decades, and this is a clear choice in the direction of fossil-fuel burning, carbon-emission spewing, noise-generating, and more generally negative-externality-ignoring policy. Government's main job is to deal with negative externalities in a way that makes sense collectively, and that takes into account the long term in a way that individuals or companies are not equipped to do.
It is amazing how airport building or road building is not seen as a subsidy to (richer) users, but railway infrastructure, for instance needs to be profitable to be built. The double standards are breathtaking and all-too depressing. But hey, it's easier to blame Russia or Saudi Arabia for the price of energy than to ensure that we use energy in smarter ways.