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UW-Milwaukee CES 210 - Environmental Science

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CES 210 1st Edition Lecture 4Environmental Science Lecture FourEcological Economics cont’d(What is ecological about ecological economics?)Ecological economics: how can continue to improve human welfare within the limits of the earth’s natural resources and biological systems?- Does our use of resources permits the opportunities of others and future generations or other people in other regions to lead healthy and productive lives?- Tries to makes producers account for social as well as environmental costs- Needs to question necessity of constant growth- Identifies externalities so that prices reflect total cost of production or reduce/change method or producing goods- REMEMBER each component is part of a system- External costs provided for “free” by ecosystem servicesWhat are ecosystem services?- They are resources provided and waste absorbed by our environment- Annual value estimate from 16 to 51 trillion dollars, this is not including the desert or tundra- Restoration of damage would equal an enormous payback- Ecosystem services regulate global energy balance like climate, water supplies, biodiversity, and oceans- Ecosystems provides: space, substrate for habitation, and crop cultivation- They also produce food, fuel, and fodder (used for plants)- Lastly they supply spiritual, cultural, and artistic opportunitiesCommunal property resourcesGarret Hardin – Tragedy of the CommonsThese notes represent a detailed interpretation of the professor’s lecture. GradeBuddy is best used as a supplement to your own notes, not as a substitute.- Argued that commonly held resources are inevitably degraded because of self-interest of individuals tend to outweigh public interest- Example: say everyone grazes cows but each farmer maximizes income if they add another cow, but if they do to much damage is done by overgrazing and it degrades the commons- Hardin described an open access system with no rules to manage resources, but many communal resources are managed by cooperative arrangements. - Example: native American management of hunting grounds; village-owned pastureland in SwitzerlandCommunal property resources are a classic problem in economics- Clean air, fish in the ocean, clean water, wildlife, and open space are all natural amenities that we exploit but that nobody clearly controls- Hardin believes that commonly held resources are degraded and destroyed by self-interestSustainability: means living on the earth’s renewable resources without damaging the ecological process that supports us allSustainable development: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (effort to marry both sustainability and sustainable development)Development: means improving peoples lives, usually through increased access to goods (like food) or services (like education)Does scarcity lead to new technologies?- Greater efficiency can allow people to create the same amount of goods using fewer resources- Substitution of new materials for scarce ones can extend supplies or create new ones- Discovery of new reserves through better exploration techniques- Recycling as resources become more valuableCarrying Capacity is not Necessarily Fixed- Technological development have resulted in price decreases for many raw materials over the last hundred years- Economists generally believe technological developments will help avoid catastrophe- Ecologist generally disagree- The fact that we have not yet run out of raw materials does not mean that it will never happen- Ecological processes may be more irreplaceable than raw materialsScarcity/Development CycleNew resources are createdPrices fall and demand risesEasily accessible reserves are exhaustedScarcity of resources resultsRising prices stimulate research and developmentNew technologies lead to substitution, reuse, and recycling of materialsEconomic models- “Limits to growth” predicted catastrophe as population grew and resources became depleted- “Beyond the limits” updated the model used in the previous book to include technological progress, pollution abatement, and population stabilization, and predicted an improved standard of living for everyone- These models don’t show what will happen but only what may happenMeasuring GrowthGross National Product (GNP)two ways to calculate- Flow of money from households to businesses in forms of goods/services purchased- Cost of production in form of wages, rent, interest, taxes, and profit- In both calculations, depreciation for wear and tear on machines, building, etc. is includedGross Domestic Product (GDP): only includes economic activity within national boundariesEnvironmental Effects of GNP/GDP- Both GNP and GDP are criticized as measures of well-being because they do not distinguish between beneficial and harmful activities- Example: huge oil spill is positive to GDP because it creates more jobs- Also neither accounts for natural resources used up or ecosystems damagedMeasuring Well BeingGenuine Progress Index (GPI): takes into account real per capita income, distributional equity, natural resource depletion, and environmental damageEnvironmental Performance Index (EPI): indicators are tracked in six areas – environmental health, air, water, productive natural resources, biodiversity and habitat, and sustainable energyHuman Development Index: used by U.N. and incorporates life expectancy, educational attainment, andstandard livingGender Development Index: HDI adjusted for inequality between men and women- Poverty and child death rates are falling, while life expectancy is increasing in many places around the worldCost-Benefit Analysis- Attempts to assign values to resources and social and environmental effects of carrying out a given undertaking- Tries to find optimal efficiency point at which the marginal cost of pollution controls equals the marginal benefit- Widespread since Reagan administration issued executive order requiring its use in regulatory decisions and legislative proposals- Many conservatives see it as a way to eliminate what they consider to be unnecessary requirements to protect clean air and water, human health, and biodiversityMarket Mechanisms Can Reduce Pollution- Responding to climate change will create business opportunities in renewable energy, carbon reduction, etc.- Sir Nicholas Stern reported that if we do not act to control global warming, the damaged caused by climate


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