Presentation on theme: "The Big Issues: Ethics, Economics, and Policy"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Big Issues: Ethics, Economics, and Policy End-of-term social for Geography tomorrow at 3:30 in lounge next door (followed by pub crawl); also scholarship applications available for students completing 2nd and 3rd years of their Geography programsGEOG 101: Days 21 and 22The Big Issues: Ethics, Economics, and PolicySpecial guest on Tuesday, so please attend!
2 Housekeeping ItemsAbout half of the class went on the field trip. Any shared reactions for those who couldn’t make it?The final exam will be on Wednesday, April 23rd downstairs in Room 111 at 9 a.m. We will review for the exam next week.We are running out of time, so we will have to skip Chapters 18 and 19, but you are liable for their contents, so please read them. Today I will start in on Chapters 21 & 22, though please read the chapters and the notes on your own.The media analyses are due today; will get your assignments back at the exam.The film on Guatemala on Tuesday night was quite good. Tonight at 7 in 356, Room 109, “Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives” is showing on GMOs.Any first year students with really high GPAs?
3 Environmental EthicsEthics is about how we relate to and treat other people or things. A major environmental thinker, Aldo Leopold, said humans have gradually enlarged the circle of the beings we feel we have an obligation to treat well.Some hunting and gathering and some civilized cultures did not consider others not of their race or ethnicity to be worthy of decent treatment. Until 1863, slavery was legal on the North American continent and it still exists in some parts of the world.During the Nazi years, millions of Jews, Roma, gays, Slavs, and the disabled were put to death for being “inferior.”As the video on Tuesday showed, throughout Latin America even today, the Ladino elite looks down on the indigenous majority as not worthy of the same consideration and human rights as they expect for themselves, and there is a whole history of genocide and other atrocities against First Nations.
4 Environmental EthicsDehumanization is a part of what makes it easier for soldiers and their officers, to fight in wars.During the Vietnam War, U.S. soldiers referred to the Vietnamese as “gooks,” “dinks” and “slopeheads” because it made it easier to kill them.In World Wars I and II, Germans were referred to as “Huns,” “Krauts”, and “Gerries,” and the Japanese as “Japs.”Soviet propaganda, in the closing months of the war, encouraged soldiers to brutalize German civilians and condoned the rape of at least half a million German women.
5 Environmental EthicsFor the longest time, women were considered inferior to men – and still are in many cultures, not even allowed to go outside on their own without a male escort. Until 1920 (and even later in Quebec), they were not allowed to vote (too ‘irrational’) and were discouraged from going to college (except maybe to meet a husband).They were not allowed to own property or to get a bank loan, and most occupations were closed to them. Though we now have woman premiers and CEOs, women as a group earn far less than men and are greatly over-represented in service professions. They are also exploited sexually in a way that men rarely are.There are many other forms of discrimination in our and other societies – based on ethnicity, class, religion, sexual orientation, political views, and much more. These all reflect a view that it’s OK to treat certain people a certain way.
6 Environmental EthicsSo what about the ‘environment,’ or what some cultures call ‘all my relations’? I want to break you into small groups to talk about the following questions and then report back your answers to the whole group:What it the predominant Canadian ethic towards the environment? (and do different groups have different ethics?)How does this manifest itself?Do other cultures view things differently?Will there be any changes in our environmentalethic as we move towards sustainability?YOUR IDEAS….
7 Environmental PolicyPolicy, regardless of what it’s applied to, is comprised of a)what we’re trying to change and b)how we’re trying to change (and ‘best practices’ from elsewhere). As we discussed before, when we talked about social change, policy development is one of the strategies for influencing behaviour change in institutions and individuals/ households.A concrete example is something I’ve been working on with my Work Opportunity student – campus sustainability. We did a study of three universities – VIU, UNBC, and Royal Roads – to see how they compared in making progress towards being more sustainable.
8 Environmental PolicyWe also wanted to see what lessons could be learned about overcoming the obstacles and barriers that inevitably accompany trying to make change and what factors seem to facilitate progress.Of the three, VIU has made the least progress. The others are definitely out in front.We looked at a number of areas: energy, water, food, waste, curriculum, governance, and others.Our basic assumption was that universities should model sustainability for their students and for the wider community.
9 Environmental Policy Questions For Discussion: What would likely be the greatest obstacles to change?What would be some opportunities that the campus environment would provide (as well as possible external pressures)?What would be the most important foci for making change? What would you like to see?
10 The Same Could Be Applied to Municipal Environmental Policy Questions For Discussion:What would likely be the greatest obstacles to change?What would be some opportunities that the municipal environment would provide (as well as possible external pressures)?What would be themost important focifor making change?What would you liketo see?
12 Upon successfully completing this chapter, you will be able to Characterize the influences of culture and world view on the choices people makeOutline the nature, evolution, and expansion of environmental ethics in Western culturesDescribe some basic precepts of economic theory and summarize their implications for the environmentCompare the concepts of economic growth, economic health, and sustainabilityExplain the fundamentals of environmental economics, ecological economics, and natural accounting
14 Culture, world view, and the environment Environmental issues often highlight trade-offs between conflicting economic benefits and social or ethical concernsBoth disciplines deal with what we valueOur values affect our environmental decisions and actionsIn our culture, economic objectives usually trump ecological or social objectives. Any examples?
15 Culture and world view influence our perception of the environment Our relationship with the environment depends on assessments of costs and benefits, some of which in turn can be influenced by denial, resistance, discounting, fear, and cognitive dissonance.Culture and worldview also affects this relationshipCulture = knowledge, beliefs, values, and learned ways of life shared by a group of peopleWorld view = a person’s or group’s beliefs about the meaning, purpose, operation, and essence of the worldCulture and worldview affect our perception of the environment and environmental problems. Examples?
16 Many factors shape our world views and perception of the environment (examples?) ReligionCommunitiesPolitical ideologyEconomicsIndividual interestsVested interest = an individual with strong interests in the outcome of a decision that results in gain or loss for that individual
17 Mining in Mecca…? weighing the issues Suppose a mining company discovered uranium near the Sacred Mosque at Mecca—or the site in Bethlehem believed to be the birthplace of Jesus or the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.What do you think would happen if the company announced plans to develop a mine close to one of these sacred locations, assuring the public that environmental impacts would be minimal and that the mine would create jobs and stimulate economic growth?Also: why, in contrast with Europe and other parts of the world, is beauty valued so little in relation to commercial values? Why are ecosystems valued so little?21-17
18 There are many ways to understand the environment Traditional or indigenous ecological knowledge = the intimate knowledge of a particular environment possessed and passed along by those who have inhabited an area for many generationsMedicinal properties of local plantsMigration habits of local animalsGeographic and microclimatic variationsFor more information, see The Earth’s Blanket by Nancy Turner.
20 Environmental ethicsEthics = the study of good and bad, right and wrongRelativists = ethics varies with social contextUniversalists = right and wrong remains the same across cultures and situationsWhat would be an example of each perspective?Ethical standards = criteria that help differentiate right from wrongThe golden ruleUtilitarian principle = something right produces the most benefits for the most people
21 The Atlantic seal hunt weighing the issues No environmental issue identified with Canada is more emotionally charged than the Atlantic seal hunt. Each year environmentalists and animal activists mobilize to try to stop the hunt, arguing that too many seals are killed and that the methods used are inhumane.The hunters and supporters counter that they are continuing a way of life that has been practiced by Aboriginal people for at least 4000 years (and also Newfoundlanders and others), that it is their right to practice their traditional ways, and that the hunt is vital for the economic well-being and survival of their communities.What do you think?Who should decide which of these sets of values—animal rights or Aboriginal self-determination—should take precedence in this case?21-21
22 Environmental ethics pertains to humans and the environment Environmental ethics = application of ethical standards to relationships between human and non-human entitiesShould we conserve resources for future generations?Is is OK to destroy a forest to create jobs for people?Are humans justified in driving other species to extinction?Is it OK for some communities to be exposed to excess pollution?
23 Environmental ethics pertains to humans and the environment (cont’d) Sustainable development = we must meet our current needs without compromising the availability of natural resources or the quality of life for future generations. What’s missing?In 2007 and 2008, a pipeline extension through Jasper National Park was started; it was approved in 1952Would it have been approved today?
24 We extend ethical consideration to non-human entities Why have we expanded our ethical concerns?Economic prosperity: more leisure time, less anxietiesScience: interconnection of all organismsNon-western cultures often have broader ethical domains (e.g. First Nations, Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists, etc.)Three perspectives in Western ethicsAnthropocentrism = only humans have rightsBiocentrism = certain living things also have valueEcocentrism = whole ecological systems have valueIn the case of Linley Valley, one could argue that only humans count, and then only some humans.
26 Environmental ethics has ancient roots People have questioned our relationship with the environment for centuriesEnvironment as sacred:Aboriginal oral traditionsJain Dharma (Compassion for all life)Anthropocentric view or stewardship over nature?Christianity, Judaism, and IslamThe Industrial Revolution intensified debate about our relationship with the environment, with the Romantic Revolution seeking to re-establish the value of nature. It was felt that contact with nature refreshed and ennobled people.
27 The Industrial Revolution inspired environmental philosophers Transcendentalism = viewed nature as a direct manifestation of the divineRalph Waldo EmersonHenry ThoreauWalt WhitmanJohn Muir, and othersMore recently, two countries in the Western hemisphere have extended legal rights to ecosystems and their components: Bolivia and Ecuador.
28 Conservation and preservation arose at the start of the twentieth century John Muir (right, with President Roosevelt at Yosemite National Park) had an eco-centric viewpoint
29 Conservation and preservation arose at the start of the twentieth century (cont’d) Preservation ethic = holds that we should protect the natural environment in a pristine, unaltered stateJames Bernard Harkin was the first commissioner of Dominion Parks (eventually Parks Canada)Conservation ethic = holds that humans should put natural resources to use but also that we have a responsibility to manage them wiselyClifford Sifton was the first chairman of the Commission for the Conservation of Natural Resources
30 The land ethic and deep ecology enlarged the boundaries of the ethical community Aldo Leopold – “The Land Ethic” in 1949humans should view themselves and “the land” as members of the same communityPeople are obligated to treat the land in an ethical manner based on mutual respectDeep ecology = humans are inseparable from natureSince all living things have equal value, they should be protected
31 Ecofeminism recognizes connections between the oppression of nature and women Ecofeminism = the patriarchal structure of society is the root cause of both social and environmental problemsA world view traditionally associated with women (interrelationships and cooperation) is more compatible with nature than that associated with men (hierarchies and competition)Ecofeminists note that women have also been traditionally associated with nature (e.g. Mother Nature, and the naming of hurricanes until relatively recently). God has, in the Abrahamic tradition, has always been seen as male.
32 Environmental justice seeks equitable access to resources and protection from environmental degradationEnvironmental justice = based on the principle that all people have the right:To live and work in a clean, healthy environmentTo receive protection from the risks and impacts of environmental degradationTo be compensated for having suffered such impactsTo have equitable access to environmental resourcesA good example is the campaign, led by Majora Carter, to create a “Sustainable South Bronx.”
33 Economics: Approaches and environmental implications Conflict between ethical and economic motivations is a recurrent theme in environmental issuesEnvironmental protection works in opposition to economic progressArguments are made that environmental protection costs too much money, interferes with progress, and leads to job loss (short-term view)Environmental protection can be good for the economy both in terms of creating jobs, preserving needed resources (long-term view). As the organization Earth First! used to say, “there are no jobs on a dead planet!”
34 Economics studies the allocation of scarce resources Economics = the study of how people decide to use scarce resources to provide goods and services in the face of demand for themMost environmental and economic problems are linked, including through the process you have studied with the LCAs – throughput: the transformation of raw materials into products, waste, and pollution.Root “oikos” (household) gave rise to both ecology and economics
35 Several types of economies exist today Economy = a social system that converts resources intoGoods: manufactured materials that are bought, andServices: work done for others as a form of businessSubsistence economy = people get their daily needs directly from nature; they do not purchase or tradeCapitalist market economy = buyers and sellers interact to determine prices and production of goods and servicesCentrally planned economy = the government determines how to allocate resourcesMixed economy = governments intervene to some extent
36 Environment and economy are intricately linked Economies receive inputs from the environment, process them in complex waysOpen system = economies are open systems integrated with the larger environmental system of which they are part ofClosed system = earth is a closed system, the material inputs Earth can provide are finite and so is the waste- absorbing capacitybiospherebiosphereeconomy“Over-full world”21-36
39 Environment and economy are intricately linked (cont’d) Ecosystem services = essential services support the life that makes economic activities possibleSoil formationPollinationWater purificationNutrient cyclingClimate regulationWaste treatmentThese services have only recently become widely recognized, and still don’t have dollar values put on them.
40 Classical economics promoted the free market Competition between people free to pursue their own economic self-interest will benefit society as a whole (Adam Smith, )The market is guided by an “invisible hand”This idea is a pillar of free-market thought todayIt is also blamed for economic inequalityCritics think that market capitalism should be regulated by government where it conflicts with the public interest
41 Neoclassical economics considers price, supply, and demand
42 Neoclassical economics considers price, supply, and demand (cont’d)
43 Cost-benefit analysis is a useful tool Cost-benefit analysis = the costs of a proposed action are compared to the benefits that result from the actionIf benefits > costs: pursue the actionNot all costs and benefits can be identified or quantifiedMarginal benefit and cost curves determine an “optimal” level of resource use or pollution mitigation
44 Aspects of neoclassical economics have profound implications for the environment Assumptions of neoclassical economics:Resources are infinite or substitutableCosts and benefits are internal to the production and consumption process (not!)Long-term effects are discounted – i.e. “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”Growth is good and necessary!
45 Aspects of neoclassical economics have profound implications for the environment (cont’d) Assumption: Resources are infiniteEconomic models treat resources as substitutable and interchangeableA replacement resource will be foundBut, Earth’s resources are limitedNonrenewable resources can be depletedRenewable resources can also be depletedMoreover, some ‘resources,’ such as biodiversity, clean air and water, and a stable climate cannot be substituted for.
46 Aspects of neoclassical economics have profound implications for the environment (cont’d) Assumptions: Long-term effects should be discountedA future event counts less than a present oneDiscounting = short-term costs and benefits are more important than long-term costs and benefitsPolicymakers ignore long term consequences of our actionsEconomic growth is necessary to maintain employment and social orderPromoting economic growth creates opportunities for poor to become wealthierProgress is measured by economic growth
47 Aspects of neoclassical economics have profound implications for the environment (cont’d) Assumption: Costs and benefits are internalCosts and benefits are experienced by the buyer and seller aloneDo not affect other members of the society or other species or ecosystemsPricing ignores social, environmental or economic costsExternalities = costs or benefits involving people other than the buyer or sellerExternal costs = cost borne by someone not involved in a transactionHuman health problemsResource depletionHard to account for and eliminate
48 Is the growth paradigm good for us? More and bigger is betterThe dramatic rise in per-person consumption has severe environmental consequencesCritics fear that economic growth will destroy the ecological system on which we all dependECOSPHEREECONOMY
49 Economists disagree on whether economic growth is sustainable Are endless improvements in technology possible?Ecological economists argue that civilizations do not overcome their environmental limitations in the long runCould we continue this activity forever and be happy with the outcome?Environmental economists argue that economies are unsustainable if population growth is not reduced and resource use is not made more efficient
50 Economists disagree on whether economic growth is sustainable (cont’d) Steady-state economy = economies that do not grow and do not shrink but rather are stable and mirror natural ecological systemsWill not evolve on its own from a capitalist market systemCritics assume that an end to growth means an end to a rising quality of life; is this necessarily true?Requires reforms
51 We can measure economic progress differently Gross Domestic Product (GDP) = total monetary value of final goods and services producedDoes not account for nonmarket valuesNot necessarily desirable economic activityA large oil spill would increase GDP, as would people dying of cancer from smoking or poor diets.
52 We can measure economic progress differently (cont’d) GPI: An alternative to the GDPGenuine Progress Indicator (GPI) = differentiates between desirable and undesirable economic activityPositive contributions (i.e. volunteer work) not paid for with money are added to economic activityNegative impacts (crime, pollution) are subtracted
54 Although GDP of Alberta has increased, GPI shows a decline
55 Other Alternatives to GDP The Kingdom of Bhutan a number of years ago adopted what they called “Gross National Happiness,” in which every national decision was supposed to be based on making people better off.The New Economics Index has created the “Happy Planet Index” to measure how happy people in different countries relative to their ecological footprint.The UN also has the Gender Empowerment Index (GEI) and other measures for determining how well off people are. [add others]
56 We can give ecosystem goods and services monetary values Economies receive from the environment vital resources and ecosystem servicesEcosystem services are said to have nonmarket values, values not usually included in the price of a good or serviceExistence valuesOption valuesAesthetic valuesScientific valuesEducational valuesCultural valuesUse values21-56
57 Markets can failMarket failure occurs when markets do not account for:the environment’s positive effects on economiesthe negative effects of economic activity on the environment or peopleGovernment intervention counters market failureLaws and regulationsGreen taxes = penalize harmful activitiesEconomic incentives to promote conservation and sustainability
58 Corporations are responding to sustinability concerns Industries, businesses, and corporations can make money by “greening” their operationsCorporate sustainability has gone mainstreamBe careful of greenwashing, where consumers are misled into thinking companies are acting sustainably
59 ConclusionCorporate responsibility, alternative ways of measuring growth, and the valuation of ecosystem goods and services offer different, but potentially complementary, economic approaches to environmental protectionEnvironmental ethics has expanded people’s ethical considerationDistributional equity = equal treatment for allTrue income is sustainable incomeIf economic welfare can be enhanced in the absence of growth, economies and environmental quality can benefit from one another
61 Upon successfully completing this chapter, you will be able to Describe environmental policy and assess its societal contextIdentify the institutions important to Canadian environmental policyRecognize major Canadian environmental lawsList the institutions involved with international environmental policyCategorize the different approaches to environmental policyDescribe how nations handle transboundary issues
62 Central Case: The Death And Rebirth Of Lake Erie “When you get ready to vote, make sure you know what you’re doing.”– Bob Hunter, Journalist and Co-founder of Greenpeace1970s: Lake Erie “died” of pollutionInternational effort brought Lake Erie back using touch legal restrictions on both sides of the borderCanada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement42 Areas of Concern with tailored Remedial Action PlansOne example of how people and organizations work together
63 Environmental policyPolicy = a formal set of general plans and principles to address problems and guide decisionsPublic Policy = policy made by governments that consists of laws, regulations, orders, incentives, and practicesEnvironmental Policy = pertains to human interactions with the environmentRegulates resource use or reduce pollution
65 Environmental policy addresses issues of equity and resource use The tragedy of the commons = the idea that a resource held in common that is accessible to all and is unregulated will eventually become overused and degradedFree Riders = reducing pollution tempts any one person to cheatPrivate voluntary efforts are less effective than mandated effortsExternal Cost = harmful impacts result from market transaction but are borne by people not involved in the transaction
66 Many factors hinder implementation of environmental policy Environmental laws are challenged, derided, and ignoredEnvironmental policy involves government regulationsBusinesses and individuals view laws as overly restrictive and unresponsive to human needsMost environmental problems develop graduallyHuman behavior is geared toward short-term needsNews media have short attention spansPoliticians often act out of their own short-term interest
67 Environmental goals and best practices can be promoted by voluntary initiatives Voluntary guidelinesSector-based and self-enforcedCanadian mining industry has undertaken some voluntary initiativesISO standards for environmental managementPromote consistency and best practices in environmental management22-67
68 Environmental goals and best practices can be promoted by voluntary initiatives Voluntary guidelines = sector-based and self-enforced policingISO series was designed to promote consistency and best practices in environmental managementAre they as effective as legislation?
69 Canadian environmental policy arises from all levels of government Canadian Environmental Protection Act (1999)Federal government shares responsibility for environmental protectionProvinces/territories (principal responsibility)AboriginalMunicipal/local governmentsCanadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME)22-69
71 Canada’s environmental policies are influenced by our neighbour Influenced by the U.S. in its environmental management approach because of:The trading relationship (e.g. NAFTA)The environmental resources we shareCanada-U.S. binational management of transboundary pollution has been characterized by cooperation and dialogue
72 Legal instruments are used to ensure that environmental goals are achieved Acts = laws, or statutes, proposed and voted upon by the ParliamentRegulations = specific legal instruments, a detailed set of requirements established by governments to allow them to enforce actsAgreements = enforceable or voluntary; with the goal of streamlining, clarifying, or harmonizing the administration of environmental legislationPermits = document that grant legal permission to carry out an activity
73 Legal instruments are used to ensure that environmental goals are achieved (cont’d) Federal (e.g. Canadian Environmental Protection Act, Fisheries Act, Canadian Wildlife Act)Provincial (e.g. limits on discharging harmful substances, require permits or approvals )Aboriginal governments (e.g. resource extraction on aboriginal lands)Municipal/local governments (e.g. water and sewage, noise, waste, zoning, pesticide use)International agreements (e.g. U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species)
74 Government and ENGOs work together on environmental issues Stakeholder = any person or group that has an interest in, or might be affected by, the outcome of a particular undertakingENGOs = environmental nongovernmental organizationsRound table = a multi-stakeholder working group established to consult on a particular issue
75 Different environmental media require different regulatory approaches Water law in Canada developed from two historical legal concepts:Riparian law = anyone who has legal access to the water’s edge has the legal right to withdraw water from the resourcePrior appropriation = first come, first right principle, by which one’s right to withdraw water is established by historical precedent
76 Environmental policy has changed with the society and the economy 1780s to 1800s: frontier ethic to tame and conquer the wilderness1800s: regulate resource use, conservation and preservation ethics1900s: immigrants encouraged to convert Prairie grasslands into farms; soil conservationLate 1900s: policy responded to pollution and environmental crises (Silent Springs, 1962)2000s: public enthusiasm for environmental protection
77 The social context for environmental policy changes over time Factors that allowed advances in environmental policyWide evidence of environmental problemsPeople could visualize policies to deal with problemsThe political climate was ripe, with a supportive public and leaders who were willing to actEconomic confidence (willingness-to-pay transition)
81 The concept of sustainable development now guides environmental policy Sustainable development = “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”1987, United Nations Commission on Environment and DevelopmentHas not been without controversyToo vagueprone to misuse and misinterpretationContradiction in terms
82 Scientific monitoring and reporting helps with environmental policy decisions State-of-the-environment reporting (SOER) = the collection, organization, and reporting of information that can be used to measure and monitor changes in the environmentIndicators = values that can be measured and in comparison to which changes can be assessed
83 Scientific monitoring and reporting helps with environmental policy decisions (cont’d) Purpose of SOERWhat is happening in the environment?Why is it happening?Why is it significant?What is being done about it?Is this response sustainable?
84 Scientific monitoring and reporting helps with environmental policy decisions (cont’d) Environment Canada takes the lead role on SOEROther federal-levelsFisheries and Oceans CanadaParks CanadaMany municipalities also produce SOE reportsMany corporations have adopted reporting as well
85 SOER presents organizational challenges So much environmental information that can be measured and reportedHow to sub-divide the informationPressure–state–response (PSR) model = based on establishing linkages and causalitiesCause-and-effect feedback loops
87 International Environmental Law and Policy 22-87
88 International Environmental Law and Policy International issues can be addressed through creative agreementsCustomary law = practices or customs held by most culturesConventional law = from conventions or treatiesMontreal Protocol: nations agreed to reduce ozone-depleting chemicalsKyoto Protocol: reduces fossil fuel emissions causing climate change (Canada withdrew in 2011)
89 Several organizations help shape international environmental policy The United Nations helps nations understand and solve environmental problemsThe European Union seeks to promote Europe’s unity and economic and social progressThe World Trade Organization has authority to impose financial penalties and can shape environmental policy (has interpreted some environmental laws as unfair barriers to trade)The World Bank funds economic development including some unsustainable projects
90 Several organizations help shape international environmental policy (cont’d) Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is concerned some countries may impose policies that are harmful to those who rely on fossil fuels for a substantial part of their incomeInternational ENGOs provide funding, expertise, and research to environmental problems in diverse ways
92 Science plays a role in policy, but it can be politicized Effective policy decisions are informed by scientific researchSometimes policymakers ignore scienceCod fisher in Atlantic Canada for exampleThey let political ideology determine policyScientists at government agencies have had their work suppressed or discreditedTheir jobs were threatenedWhen taxpayer-funded research is suppressed or distortedfor political ends, everyone loses
93 Command-and-control policy has improved our lives, but it is not perfect Command-and-control approach: environmental policy sets rules or limits and threatens punishment for violatorsHeavy-handedAlternative approaches involve using economic incentives to encourage desired outcomes and use market dynamics to meet goalsMost current environmental lawsHave resulted in safe, healthy, comfortable lives
94 Command-and-control policy has improved our lives, but it is not perfect (cont’d) Drawbacks of command-and-controlGovernment actions may be well-intentioned but not informedInterest groups–people seeking private gain–unduly influence politiciansCitizens may view policies as restrictions on freedomCostly and less efficient in achieving goals
95 Economic tools also can be used to achieve environmental goals SubsidyGreen taxes and “polluter pays”Permit trading
96 Economic tools also can be used to achieve environmental goals (cont’d) Subsidy = a government giveaway of cash or resources to encourage a particular activityHave been used to support unsustainable activitiesCould subsidize environmentally sustainable activities instead
97 Economic tools also can be used to achieve environmental goals (cont’d) Green taxes = taxes on environmentally harmful activitiesPolluter pays principle = the price of a good or service includes all costs, including environmental degradationGives companies financial incentives to reduce pollutionCosts are passed on to consumers
98 Economic tools also can be used to achieve environmental goals (cont’d) Permit trading = government-created market in permitsBusinesses buy, sell, trade these permitsEmissions trading system = government-issued permits for an acceptable amount of pollution and companies buy, sell, or trade these permits with other pollutersCap-and-trade system = a party that reduces its pollution levels can sell this credit to other partiesPollution is reduced overall, but does increase around polluting plants
99 Market incentives are being tried widely on the local level Charges for waste disposal according to the amount of waste they generateRebates to residents who buy water-efficient toiletsDiscounts from power companies for using high-efficiency light bulbs and appliancesRebate programs aimed at providing rewards for behavioural changes
100 Eco-labelling gives some choice back to the consumer Ecolabelling = tells consumers which brands use environmentally benign processesConsumers provide businesses with a powerful incentive to switch to more sustainable processesSocially responsible investing = entails investing only in companies that have met certain criteria
101 ConclusionEnvironmental policy is a problem-solving tool that uses science, ethics and economicsConventional command-and-control approach of legislation and regulation are most commonEnvironmental issues often overlap political boundariesApproaches to environmental management are currently emerging in Canada