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Ecological Economics Lecture 10 Tiago Domingos Assistant Professor Environment and Energy Section Department of Mechanical Engineering Doctoral Program.

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Presentation on theme: "Ecological Economics Lecture 10 Tiago Domingos Assistant Professor Environment and Energy Section Department of Mechanical Engineering Doctoral Program."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ecological Economics Lecture 10 Tiago Domingos Assistant Professor Environment and Energy Section Department of Mechanical Engineering Doctoral Program and Advanced Degree in Sustainable Energy Systems Doctoral Program in Mechanical Engineering Doctoral Program in Environmental Engineering

2 Ethics – Problem 2 In Rawls’s theory, everyone should agree on ethical rules, in the original position, not in concrete applications –This is why answer d) is wrong However, there is a different possible reasoning: –The principle of maximum liberty has primacy over the principle of difference –If everyone agrees, they are exercising their liberty, and so answer d) is right Or –If everyone agrees, it is because everyone benefits

3 Ethics – Problem 3 The categorical imperative is not exactly the same as “não faças aos outros o que não queres que façam a ti”

4 Pollution Economics – Problem 7 The result of this problem is an illustration of the competitiveness problems that are introduced by a unilateral environmental tax

5 Pollution Economics – Problem 9 There is one positive solution: The market supply curve is: The production level for each firm is given by:

6 Next Lecture ASSIGNMENTS Perman et al., Chapter 3, Discussion Questions 1 and 2, Problem 1 Ethics, 11 READINGS Delgado Domingos, –Alterações Climáticas: As contradições e os factos inconvenientes –Alterações Climáticas: As contradições e os factos inconvenientes - ADENDA Perman et al. –Chapter 3, Sustainability and Sustainable Development

7 “Empty World” Economics Costanza, R., J. Cumberland, H. Daly, R. Goodland, R. Norgaard (1997). An Introduction to Ecological Economics. St. Lucie Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA.

8 “Full World” Economics Costanza, R., J. Cumberland, H. Daly, R. Goodland, R. Norgaard (1997). An Introduction to Ecological Economics. St. Lucie Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA.

9 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Multi-scale assessment of ecosystem services Launched by the UN’s Secretary General Authorised by four international conventions: Wetlands, Biodiversity, Migratory Birds, Desertification Partnership between UN agencies, governments, private sector and NGO’s

10 Focus: Ecosystem Services The benefits people obtain from ecosystems

11 MA Framework Direct Drivers Indirect Drivers Ecosystem Services Human Well-being Direct Drivers of Change  Changes in land use  Species introduction or removal  Technology adaptation and use  External inputs (e.g., irrigation)  Resource consumption  Climate change  Natural physical and biological drivers (e.g., volcanoes) Indirect Drivers of Change  Demographic  Economic (globalization, trade, market and policy framework)  Sociopolitical (governance and institutional framework)  Science and Technology  Cultural and Religious Human Well-being and Poverty Reduction  Basic material for a good life  Health  Good Social Relations  Security  Freedom of choice and action

12 Finding #1  Over the past 50 years, humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period of time in human history  This has resulted in a substantial and largely irreversible loss in the diversity of life on Earth

13 Unprecedented change: Ecosystems  More land was converted to cropland since 1945 than in the 18th and 19th centuries combined  20% of the world’s coral reefs were lost and 20% degraded in the last several decades  35% of mangrove area has been lost in the last several decades  Amount of water in reservoirs quadrupled since 1960  Withdrawals from rivers and lakes doubled since 1960

14 Unprecedented change: Biogeochemical Cycles Since 1960:  Flows of biologically available nitrogen in terrestrial ecosystems doubled  Flows of phosphorus tripled > 50% of all the synthetic nitrogen fertilizer ever used has been used since % of the increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO 2 since 1750 has taken place since 1959 Human-produced Reactive Nitrogen Humans produce as much biologically available N as all natural pathways and this may grow a further 65% by 2050

15 Significant and largely irreversible changes to species diversity  The distribution of species on Earth is becoming more homogenous  Humans have increased the species extinction rate by as much as 1,000 times over background rates typical over the planet’s history (medium certainty)  10–30% of mammal, bird, and amphibian species are currently threatened with extinction (medium to high certainty)

16 Finding #2  The changes that have been made to ecosystems have contributed to substantial net gains in human well-being and economic development · Since 1960, while population doubled and economic activity increased 6-fold, food production increased 2 ½ times, food price has declined, water use doubled, wood harvest for pulp tripled, hydropower doubled.  But these gains have been achieved at growing costs that, unless addressed, will substantially diminish the benefits that future generations obtain from ecosystems

17 Accounting for Ecosystem Services Total Economic Value Valor Económico Total (VET) –Disponibilidade para pagar por um bem ambiental ou a disponibilidade para aceitar a sua perda. –Comparar na mesma base os custos e benefícios ambientais e financeiros Avaliação dos custos e benefícios sociais líquidos. –VET= Valor de uso + Valor de não-uso. Valor de uso = uso directo + uso indirecto + opção. Valores de não-uso = existência + legado.

18 Degradation of ecosystem services often causes significant harm to human well-being  Degradation tends to lead to the loss of non- marketed benefits from ecosystems  The economic value of these benefits is often high and sometimes higher than the marketed benefits Timber and fuelwood generally accounted for less than a third of total economic value of forests in eight Mediterranean countries.

19 Degradation of ecosystem services often causes significant harm to human well-being  The total economic value associated with managing ecosystems more sustainably is often higher than the value associated with conversion  Conversion may still occur because private economic benefits are often greater for the converted system

20 Examples of Costs:  The 1992 collapse of the Newfoundland cod fishery cost ~$2 billion in income support and retraining  The “external” cost of agriculture in the UK in 1996 (damage to water, soil, and biodiversity) was $2.6 billion, or 9% of yearly gross farm receipts  Episodes of harmful (including toxic) algal blooms in coastal waters are increasing  The frequency and impact of floods and fires has increased significantly in the past 50 years, in part due to ecosystem changes. Annual losses from extreme events totaled ~$70 billion in 2003 Degradation of ecosystem services often causes significant harm to human well-being

21 The degradation of ecosystem services represents loss of a capital asset Loss of wealth due to ecosystem degradation is not reflected in economic accounts  Ecosystem services, as well as resources such as mineral deposits, soil nutrients, and fossil fuels are capital assets  Traditional national accounts do not include measures of resource depletion or of the degradation of these resources  A country could cut its forests and deplete its fisheries, and this would show only as a positive gain in GDP without registering the corresponding decline in assets (wealth)  A number of countries that appeared to have positive growth in net savings (wealth) in 2001 actually experienced a loss in wealth when degradation of natural resources were factored into the accounts

22 Increased likelihood of nonlinear changes  There is established but incomplete evidence that changes being made in ecosystems are increasing the likelihood of nonlinear changes in ecosystems (including accelerating, abrupt, and potentially irreversible changes), with important consequences for human well-being

23 Examples of nonlinear change Fisheries collapse Eutrophication and hypoxia Disease emergence Species introductions and losses Regional climate change

24 Finding #3:  The degradation of ecosystem services could grow significantly worse during the first half of this century and is a barrier to achieving the Millennium Development Goals

25 Finding #4:  The challenge of reversing the degradation of ecosystems while meeting increasing demands for their services can be partially met under some scenarios that the MA considered but these involve significant changes in policies, institutions and practices, that are not currently under way  Many options exist to conserve or enhance specific ecosystem services in ways that reduce negative trade- offs or that provide positive synergies with other ecosystem services


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