UCSB ENVS 106 - Lecture 04 Merchants of Doubt Chapter 3 and 4_POST (20 pages)

Previewing pages 1, 2, 19, 20 of 20 page document View the full content.
View Full Document

Lecture 04 Merchants of Doubt Chapter 3 and 4_POST



Previewing pages 1, 2, 19, 20 of actual document.

View the full content.
View Full Document
Unformatted text preview:

Merchants of Doubt Chapter 3 Sowing the Seeds of Doubt Acid Rain Acid Rain Smokestacks from Coal plants had to use scrubbers The scrubbers removed some particulate matter out of the smoke But the particles removed helped to neutralize the acid effects Without the particles the remaining pollutants make the rain more acidic Taller smokestacks reduced local pollution but spread out acidic effects Potential Negative Effects Nutrient leaching in soil and plant matter Acidification of lakes rivers Harm to wildlife Damage to human structures Uncertainties American Chemical Society Chemical and Engineering News 1976 The acidity of rain and snow falling on parts of the US and Europe has been rising for reasons that are still not entirely clear and with consequences that have yet to be well evaluated Anthropogenic sulfur was certainly implicated How do we know it s Anthropogenic Sulfur Mass balance in Sweden 3 potential sources human activity volcanoes sea spray Human activity smokestacks allow Sulfur to travel far Volcanoes No active volcanoes in northern Europe Sea Spray Does not travel very far Best explanation is Human Activity but it is an indirect argument Fingerprinting Isotopic Analysis in Canada Sulfur 34 levels are different in minerals mined in the area than in volcanoes The atmospheric signature matched the Sulfur 34 levels from the mines so the Sulfur could not have come from the volcanoes Was acid rain causing damage 1979 Scientific American Article Results of major peer reviewed literature says YES In recent decades the acidity of rain and snow has increased sharply over wide areas The principle cause is the release of sulfur and nitrogen by the burning of fossil fuels 1981 Norwegian study integrating all lines of evidence published in Nature It has now been established beyond doubt that the precipitation in southern Scandanavia has become more acidic as a result of longdistance transport of air pollution Enter the Merchants of Doubt 1979 UN Action US Canada negotiations 1980 Reagan 1981 National Academy of Science clear evidence of serious hazard to human health and the biosphere 1983 initial US Canada agreement had changed to US emphasis of uncertainties did not accept that cause effect had been established 1984 US Rejects joint pollution control program WHY Chairman of National Clean Air Coalition This was during the Reagan years when acid rain was almost as verboten as Government is not the solution to our problems government is the problem Bill Nierenberg Nuclear Physicist who rose to prominence during the Cold War Held various important positions including director of Scripps Institute of Oceanography Played a role in SDI advocacy with Jastrow and Seitz Assembled and Chaired the government panel to oversee acid rain Brings Fred Singer on Board at the As mentioned by a student in class the case that Bill Nierenberg was one a leading Merchants of Doubt appears to be the least strongest Considerations for Nierenberg as motivated or otherwise likely to distort misunderstand the science request of the Reagan Co founder of the George C Marshall Institute which Chapter 2 distorted the science behind SDI and Nuclear Winter Had no qualifications related to Acid Rain administration Considered environmentalists to be Luddites Changed content agreed to by the panelists besides Singer by order of the White House Nierenberg denied this but notes found after his death prove otherwise Considerations that Nierenberg was interested in having a well rounded scientific panel Listed certain scientists with high credentials that the White House crossed off the list and included very good scientists in the panel Fred Singer was recommended from the White House not from Nierenberg Public quotes from Nierenberg suggest at least an attenuated and cautious view on acid rain Slide 9 Fred Singer Fred Singer An environmentalist in the 1970s Switched views in the 1980s Recommended language by Singer Uncertainty of all causes Control technologies are costly and unreliable Institutional problems remain Singer s chapter in the panel was relegated to an appendix Singer did not have a background in the field Chosen by Reagan administration through Nierenberg as opposed to brought in on the basis of credentials Consistently created problems in the panel Singer s Argument from Ignorance Singer emphasized cost benefit by looking at control costs but excluded things such as ecosystem services and damages and continually emphasized uncertainty Logic of Singer s Position If you can t prove the value of things e g a lake bacteria then they have no value Even Nierenberg pushes back on this thinking Even in the absence of precise scientific knowledge you just know in your heart that you can t throw 25 million tons a year of sulfates into the Northeast and not expect some peculiar consequences If you sit around and wait for the laboratories to This topic may bring up the issue of ecosystem services to mind A very rough account of global ecosystem services discussed in 1997 put the value at 33 Trillion per year link or about 50 trillion in 2016 dollars adjusting for inflation More recent studies put it in the 100 Trillion category link Others criticize the very notion of ecosystem services claiming that the value of nature is infinite and beyond the scope of economic calculation However the important point remains that Singer appears to take a very narrow view of ecosystem services considers at most human health and direct productivity impacts when assessing benefits rather than ecosystem services or the intrinsic value of nature The Panel s Results Controversy in Publication Language in executive summary changed as well as ordering of paragraphs Panelists objected that this mitigated the tone of the overall report Links to Nierenberg and Singer as well as White House intervention on the reports final language Business press emphasized costs of regulation and uncertainties despite the basic science showing confidence in the harm of acid rain Six years later 1990 George Bush 1 amends Clean Air Act to include acid rain provisions cap and trade As mentioned in the book and in lecture Nierenberg claimed that he was not responsible for the changes in the report that minimized the acid rain threat BUT page 100 Nierenberg s files suggest otherwise He did change the executive summary of the report which was attributed to an order from the Reagan White House Because the threat of acid rain was so significant the policy


View Full Document

Access the best Study Guides, Lecture Notes and Practice Exams

Loading Unlocking...
Login

Join to view Lecture 04 Merchants of Doubt Chapter 3 and 4_POST and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or
We will never post anything without your permission.
Don't have an account?
Sign Up

Join to view Lecture 04 Merchants of Doubt Chapter 3 and 4_POST and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or

By creating an account you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use

Already a member?