There are no good environmental economics textbooks on the market. Not only do most not even mention the name of Julian Simon, or discuss the political economy of regulation for more than a paragraph, but they are littered with this sort of thing:
Widespread fears of job loss from environmental protection, however, need to be understood in the context of a “deindustrialization and downsizing” process that became increasingly apparent to U.S. citizens during the 1980s and 1990s. Over the last couple of decades, the United States lost millions of manufacturing jobs, due primarily to increased import competition both from First World nations and newly industrializing countries. At the same time, U.S. manufacturers increasingly began to “offshore” production, investing in manufacturing facilities in low-wage countries rather than at home …
My emphasis added. Perhaps it is because this author went to my alma-mater’s arch-rival. Granted, he has done nice work on the relationship between environmental regulation and job loss (finding that there is virtually no job loss due to environmental regulations), but this paragraph so utterly violates the economic truth that I wonder whether he thinks the sun rises on the West Coast and sets on the East. For one, the United States is in no way deindustrializing. They are the world’s leading manufacturer, by a large margin, and manufacturing output in the United States reached its peak way back in … 2007.
Yes there have been job losses in manufacturing, but these have been happening steadily since World War II and have everything to do with improved productivity and technological advancements in that sector, and very little to do with offshoring manufacturing jobs. The US was shedding manufacturing jobs for 25 years straight before it ever ran a manufacturing trade deficit. But why would we want that little piece of data to get in the way of a nice story?
On a more wonky note, I would add two points:
One thing is for sure, the existence of environmental regulation has created a great number of jobs for people like me who are to analyze it, teach about it, write about it, and complain about it. I am not sure these are the green collar jobs everyone keeps talking about.