The Keeling Curve

Project Report:
Conference Series on Environmental Economics for Federal Judges, State Supreme Court Justices, and Law Professors.
- Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.


In 2008 FREE offered two conferences. The first was Climate Change, Economics, & the Courts. The second is Terrorism, Civil Liberty, & National Security. The fundamental objective of these conferences was to explain how basic economic principles and the free market process can foster environmental quality.

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Climate Change, Economics, & the Courts

Last year climate change topped the world’s agenda. Despite all the attention, questions remain and dealing with climate change remains a hot topic. As policy is formed, it is vital to have a solid understanding of the science, economics, and politics surrounding the issue and the choices we face.

Steve Running, University of Montana, discussed the science of climate change, while Roger Pielke of UC-Boulder looked into the policy and politics of this science in decision-making. Robert Mendelsohn, Yale University, covered the economics of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Bob Thompson, Gardner Chair in Agricultural Policy at the University of Illinois, discussed the effect on the developing world of climate change and the policies formed to address it. Case Western Reserve law professor Jonathan Adler offered a legal perspective on climate change policy.

Terrorism, Civil Liberty, & National Security

Calls for increased national security continue to threaten our civil liberties, and debate over this encroachment persists. Many influential and far-reaching decisions are made from the bench, thus, an understanding of these issues is essential.

Amos Guiora, University of Utah College of Law, gave a perspective on self-defense in a post 9/11 world. Andrew Dolan of the U.K. Defence Academy discussed the Jihadist terrorist threat in Europe. Participants will heard presentation by the Honorable Rick Stearns, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and Ed Meese, former Attorney General.


The fundamental objective of FREE’s work is to reach important decision makers and opinion leaders with a strong, responsible, positive message. Using basic concepts from the fields of economics (micro and public choice theory), science, and risk analysis, we explain how the application of these analytic tools can foster responsible liberty and sound public policy.
We explore the potential for market-based solutions to address social problems. Creating institutions (i.e., the “rules of the game”) are essential to crafting a least cost, equitable outcome. What are the economic implications of reducing our dependence on foreign oil? Can we rely solely on market forces, or do we need a more interventionist energy policy? What policy options might harness market forces with the least amount of distortion and potential for mischief?


Our energy future is an issue of national economic significance and may pose a threat to the integrity of the global free-market system. James Woolsey and Frank Gaffney believe this is “a national security imperative.” They seek policies that reduce American dollars flowing to oil-rich Islamic theocracies.

There is no easy, cost-free way to speed our energy transition. It is not a relatively simple engineering problem, like the Apollo or Manhattan projects. Instead, we face complex socio-economic issues. Looking at history, Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba observes, “There is one thing all energy transitions have in common: they are prolonged affairs that take decades to accomplish, and the greater the scale of prevailing uses and conversions the longer the substitutions will take.”

Information Dissemination

Project directors John Baden and Pete Geddes both write regular opinion editorials for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Their writings have also appeared in the Journal of Forestry, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the Wall Street Journal, the Seattle Times, and on the internet at the National Center for Policy Analysis’s Policy Digest, Tech Central Station, The Commons, and A Better World.

Project Link

Amount Approved
$30,000.00 on 5/29/2008 (Check sent: 9/16/2008)

  Related Organizations
Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE)  

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AUG08 Group Photo.jpg
The Keeling Curve
Slide 1-CO2 vs. GDP.jpg

662 Ferguson Rd
Bozeman, MT 59718

(406) 585-1776
(406) 585-3000 (fax)


Mr. Pete Geddes
Chairman, FREE

Posted 3/3/2008 5:32 PM
Updated   12/9/2009 11:07 PM

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