Monday, March 3, 2008

Cutting Down Trees for the Enviroment

I saw this story on CNN this week. A 30-year old law in California requires owner cut back trees that block solar panels that once received sunlight, regardless of when the trees were planted.
From Anderson Cooper,

The panels soaked up the sun’s rays; the redwoods grew. Then the trouble began in the form of the rarely enforced California Solar Shade Control Act, signed into law by then-governor Jerry Brown in 1978. The law is very specific. It does not require trees planted before installation of solar panels to be removed, but it does require that foliage grown tall enough to shade areas of solar panels previously in the sun be cut back. Vargas complained his neighbors were violating the law, and Treanor and Bissett were criminally charged by the Santa Clara district attorney.

Anderson quips at the end of the segment, “cutting down trees to save the environment.”

Personally, I disagree with the law and decision, but it definitely starts an interesting property rights discussion.
Who has rights the photons?
Must I provide photon egress for my neighbor’s panels?
I wonder if the carbon offset of the marginal increase in solar panel output is greater than the carbon offset of two redwood trees.

No comments: