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Flashcards in FINAL Deck (29):

What is the core concern of the Brundtland definition of sustainable development?

The core concern is that we are able to provide the present generation with the resources it needs by not compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs


The Rio+20 conference of 2012 recognized three pillars of sustainable development. What are they?

economic, social, and environmental


If the US were to adopt a sustainable development strategy, what broad objectives and what specific goals could this entail? (Give a few concrete examples, compare the Environmental Performance Index and the German National Sustainable Development slide of week 10, and my article on the “Meaning of sustainable development”)?

The German national Sustainable Development Report has specific goals and strategies for a sustainable development while the environmental Performance Index ranks countries' performance on high-priority environmental issues in two areas: protection of human health and protection of ecosystems. If the US were to adopt a sustainable development strategy, a goal would be to set in motion a process that would examine the role that trade and financing should play in encouraging states to green their economies. In order to get funding, there would have to be an introduction of a tax on financial transactions that would have to be pursued further. In addition, Substantively Sustainable Development Goals would build on the Millennium Development Goals, but cover the environmental dimension more explicitly.


a) What does it mean if the Delta Smelt goes extinct in the Sacramento Delta, discuss with reference to Kay on the Delta Smelt (possibly Vogel, “end of nature”, and Soule “New Conservationism”)?

The Delta Smelt is a fish that is disappearing at an alarming rate due to the drought. Although we may not want to admit it, humans have had a lot to do with the drought and we are to blame for this fish along with many different troubles that are to come. Vogel mentions how nature is something that can not be messed with, however, since humans have caused the drought we are affecting the ecosystem causing many changes to nature. Soule mentions how the new conservationist tend to protect species becauase they see them as a benefit to humans to use as a resource, which is true. Humans try to change nature in order to provide resources for them.


Why or why not should the Delta Smelt be seen as an indicator species;

The Delta Smelt should be seen as an indicator species because it only lives for a year and it can show some of the many ecological problems that are caused by the many systems of dams. In addition it used to be very common and now its rare to find and the same pattern is occuring with other fishes.


how much effort should be spent to save the Delta Smelt and at what costs? Address the long-term costs and benefits – as you see it - of further restricting water diversion to the Central Valley in the coming years? (How much of the Central Valley’s water problem is related to attempting to save the Delta Smelt?)

Many water providers and farm groups argue that it is ridicoulous to reduce water use from humans to save these fishes. However, it was found that due to the different water projects, it jeopardizes the fish and its habitat. The big issue has been balancing the amount of freshwater outflow through the delta versus exports and upstream water diversions.


The journal Nature invited four experts to briefly assess the Endangered Species Act at 40 (on only 2 pages). A) identify the key arguments of at least two of the four experts that you find most interesting;

Wando mentions that the ESA has helped save many animals that have become extinct however it causes many regulators to wait until animals are at the brink of extinction and also counts all species as having equal value which causes counterproductive cycles of support and endangerment. Therefore, Wadno believes that each case should have its own rules based on the value society places on the species, either for the part it plays in a natural community, or because of the place it holds in people’s hearts and lives. Another arguement that is made by another expert is that there should be clarificatin when talking about a specie’s extinction risk. There are many lawsuits brought by individuals or interest groups hoping to alter legal protection for particular species. This then leaves those groups with less resources to help those species. I believe that it is our job as humans to try and save endangered species because some are neccessary and provide resources to the world and also becuase we are to blame that they are going extinct in such an alarmy rate.


What is your personal view on how (for what reasons and at what costs) the US should conserve particular species from going extinct in the future in the US. Should we help developing countries do the same and if so, what steps could this entail?

Soule mentions the new conservationist view that we should first help out those in poverty and by helping them economically it will eventually hinder a spark in them to help out nature, but I agree with Soule that this appraoch does not seem like the best. There is no evidence to support it and is used more for the benefit of humans rather than nature. I agree with Barbier that in order to help nature we need to invest in it. However, we need to figure out how much of the total capital stock to use to increase current economic activites and how much to save for future generations. In addition I believe we should improve our managment of natural reousrces, pollution, and enviroemntal degradation. I believe that before helping devoloping countries we should first figure out how to sustain our enviromental and once we figure that out help developing contries do the same.


How does the Endangered Species Act (ESA) work. (a) What is its key objective?

The Endangered Species Act is used as a tool to restrict private land use in order to protect endangered species. It also protects animals by not allowing them to be taken out of their original habitat and mandates the development of recovery plans in areas where habitats are critical.


name two court cases that helped define the legal reach of the act,

Throught the years there has been different court cases, two of these have been the Snail darter which were small endangered fish which ended the construction of a dam. Another case was the Palila where in 1979 court decision finds that habitat alteration by the State of Hawaii violates ESA.


why is the listing of species as endangered such a politically controversial issue (see also Burgess)?

This has been politically conterversial because it creates an incentive to clear land of any species that might eventually get listed. There for people who are advocating for ESA and want animals protected want to do whatever they can to protect the species but if the US government trys to purchase all private lansd that are inhibited by memebrs of endangered species it can cause people to sacrifice their economic support therefore there needs to be a balance to help endaganered species but also to not put private owners in any economic burden.


What are the basic propositions of a rational choice approach?

he rational choice approach is that humans tend to act rationally according to their self-interest. Therefore they will agree on things that will ultimately benefit them. Therefore, if there is a smaller individual gain and their is a higher cost of doing something, it is less likely that people will voluntarily contribute to do it to maintain the public good. The costs don’t specifically have to be monetary but usually in form of lost convenience.


What are the basic propositions of a constructivist approach?

The constructivist approach is based on our perception of enviromental and social problems and solutions due to clusters of beliefs, values and ideals that ifnleunce our view on the world.


Discuss the merits and draw-backs of both approaches.
rational and constructivist

The positive aspect of the rational choice theory is that we act rationally in our best interest and we have the information needed to make a rational choice. However, we do not always act rationally, we’d rather satsifze rather than optimize, and we base decisions on aesthietic considerations and ethical and moral values. A drawback on the constructivist approach is that due to beliefs that people have engraved in their brains it may be hard or them to incorparate new information and change their views on things.


Environmental issues present particular public policy challenges. (a) Identify two, three key reasons why this is the case, with reference to some of the concepts and theoretical propositions discussed in the early weeks of the class.

-visabiltiy: since peple don't see the problems occuring they do not believe it is happening.
-uncertainty:difficult to establish the different cause and effect relationships between pollution, environmental degradation, and human health impacts.
-Shifting benchmarks: we get used to the situations and just assume it is normal.


What are the implications of your brief discussion for the likelihood that people will voluntarily “behave more environmentally conscious?” and for designing (and framing) workable public policy initiatives?

Political framework conditions of the 60s and early 70s 2) Advances in science and technology allowed tracing ever smaller amounts of toxic chemicals in the environment and researching impact of pollution on living organisms. 3) Television changed people’s perception of the world and made environmental pollution visible to everyone.


A) What are the key scientific facts you would highlight to make the case that global warming is human made, progressing and a scientifically proven problem.

I would mention how Mckibbin mentioned that we need to keep the Earth below 2 degree celsius because if we go over that number we will overheat the Earth. It has been proven that we have already raised the average temperature of the planet to about 0.8 degrees celsius, which is almost half of 2 degrees celsius. In order to stay below 2 degree celsius we can pour up to 565 gigations of carbon dioxide into the air, however, we are planning to burn around 2795 gigatons of fossil fuels which will put us over 2 degrees celsisus. In addition, we todays current c02 concentration is 384 and in the past it used to be 350 ppm.


What are the future direct and indirect impacts from climate change you think the political leadership and the President of the United States should be aware of?

-contamination of fresh water resources
-extreme weather events(droughts, floods,storms)
-shifts in climate patterns
-stress to ecosystems
-spread of tropical diseases
-socio-economic impacts


What would you lay out as the key economic and environmental considerations of abandoning the Paris agreement or staying committed to it?

cause damge to to American companies and economic innovation, because the Paris Agreement is mainly based on advancing U.S. interests rather than stopping climate change. Contrarty to your belief president trump, each party has contorol over control over its own energy use and sets its own targets. In addtiion each party states how they will met these goals, however there is no punishment if these goals are not met. IN addition, by bringing in renwable energy technology, it will create more jobs. If the US was to get out of the agreement, we will stay behind stuck with old technology while other partys have new renewable energy.
here i would use the pollution frame and green ecnomoy frame. the most effecitve frame i believe would be the green ecnomy frame because we would be able to advance and create more jobs which helps out our economy.


the main advantages and disadvantages of the command and control regulatory approach

- Clear benchmarks create level playing field for private sector
- Compliance costs can be calculated
- Regulation often creates side-benefits
- Inflexible: incentive structure is to avoid compliance
- No incentive to go beyond standards
- No effect on demand for polluting activity
- Expensive to monitor and enforce
- Special interest bargaining leads to second-best solutions


the main advantages and disadvantages of the economic instrument or market approach.

- Flexible, does not require regulatory framework
- Allows firms to use most cost-effective approaches to reduce exposure to tax
- Can be phased in slowly, shadow of the future creates market signals.
- Can directly target demand for polluting activity.
- Can generate revenues that can be used for offsetting other taxes
(eco-tax reform, revenue neutrality) or
- provide resources for subsidizing environmental technology and conservation.
- Political acceptability low in the U.S. (no interest-group politics)
- Regressive: without countervailing measures, lower income groups may pay
higher share
- Consumers may have no alternatives but to pay higher price.
- Response to price signal may only set in at prohibitively high price levels
(price elasticity)


difference between market approach and regulatory approach

regulatory:The government sets specific binding standards and enforces compliance
by law.
Monetary: integrate environmental costs into the price of goods and services
and than let market forces play. This requires the use of taxes, fees and similar


What type of policies do you believe are most likely to help us address the environmental challenges in the coming years and why?

In my opinion it would be best if we mixed both of these policies together because we can build on the advantages of both basic approaches and combine them! Use basic command-and-control regulation for most immediate environmental threats. Increase use of economic instruments for moving towards minimizing resource use and waste generation.


Risk assessment and management necessarily involves important value judgments. Explain.

There are different importnat judgment calls that need to be made like what substance to acess, what effects to access, and what are the acceptable risks.


Cost-benefit analysis is an economic valuation tool. What costs and what benefits are usually assessed when it comes to environmental issues? What criticism has been levied at the use of costbenefit analysis, i.e. how accurately can we expect cost-benefit analysis to reflect trade-offs between short-term/ long-term private and public interests?

Value costs and benefits of using natural resources or the environment in different ways.Usually short term benefits/costs and long term benefits/costs are assessed when it comes to enviromental issues. It has been criticised because when President Reagon passed an Executive Order to subject all government regulations to cost-benefit analysis (except military expenditures)


Explain the precautionary approach to environmental policy making (as now used by the European Union countries) and how it differs from the current US approach to environmental policy (see a and b). What are the practical implications of this difference? Give one example of where you see this having led to different policy decisions.

possible that there is differences in American and European risk regulations due to the actual risks their citizens may face. Ex mad cow disease had more of an impact in Europe so they would do animal testing and so on. More commonly there has been little or no relationship between the actually risks or harms faced by both EU and US citizens and the response to policy makers. Before the US had strong regulations wherea s the EU regulations were weaker. Therefore EU had to try and catch up the the US regulations. In addtion both the US and EU had different culutral values. For example, Europeans show their concern about the environment by being voters, consumers , and policy makers while Americans are more concerned about their lifestyle than the environment.


To what extent is scientific consensus knowledge shaping environmental policy responses (such as on climate change) and what explains the extent to which it has or has not?

as Michales mentions, scientists who are involved in the public health and enviromental protections have regulatory programs where absolute proof is required before they act. This however can be dangerous because if in order to have absolute proof people are harmed and get sick. In order for regulatory programs to be effective the most availavle evidence has to be sufficent. Oreskes also mentions that although scientists had a consensus about the reality of global warming and its human causes, once the media presented global warming it all became a huge debate. This divergence caused the government to not do anything about global warming.


What role is the media playing in advancing public awareness on environmental issues.

People get most of their infrmation from the news media, therefore, they learn most about enviromental issues from the new. However, the news media does not talk about many enviromental issues because the public is not interested. The media tends to be event driven and specific so usually it does not present the public with complex issues. When writing a story the media tends to be objective and balanced and trys to presnt two different sides. The media does not presnt much infromation the enviroment because people are more entertainment orientated and prefer to hear about celebtiries and gossip rather than the enivroment. There is also the news cycle where if the public is presented with some of the same issues they will get disinterested while the problem remains the same.


Discuss the role the environmental movement has played in the US to call attention to different environmental problems? On what issues has it been more or less successful in shaping public policies over time?

Since many news media would not presnt enviromental issues, activists decided to start their own envirometnal journals to infrom people. There have also been different groups like the sierra club that try to push for envirometnal reforms. An issue that shaped public polciies over time has been pollution, both air and water. There were many tenviromental triggering events that made these issues visible and people beleieved it was time to take a stand. Therefore, the governemtn passed the wter pollution control act, water quality act and air quality act.