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Environment: The Science behind the Stories

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1 Environment: The Science behind the Stories
Lecture Outlines Chapter 7 Environment: The Science behind the Stories 4th Edition Withgott/Brennan

2 This lecture will help you understand:
Environmental policies Major U.S. environmental laws Approaches to environmental policy The environmental policy process Science and policy International environmental policy

3 San Diego and Tijuana The Tijuana River empties into the Pacific Ocean, carrying millions of gallons of untreated wastewater San Diego’s waters receive storm water runoff Beaches are off-limits to swimming People are pressing policymakers to take action

4 Environmental policy Policy = a formal set of general plans and principles to address problems and guide decision making Public policy = made by governments Laws, regulations, orders, incentives, and practices Intended to advance societal welfare Environmental policy = pertains to human interactions with the environment Regulates resource use or reduces pollution To promote human welfare and/or protect resources

5 Environmental policy and resource use
Science, ethics, and economics help formulate policy Science = provides information and analysis Ethics and economics = clarify how society can address problems Government interacts with citizens, organizations, and the private sector

6 Policies prevent the tragedy of the commons
Capitalist markets are driven by short-term profit Not long-term social or environmental stability Little incentive to minimize impacts Market failure justifies government intervention Tragedy of the commons = commonly held resources will become overused and degraded Best prevented by oversight and regulations Traditional societies may safeguard against exploitation Privatization works if property rights are clear Does not work with air, water, etc.

7 Environmental policies prevent free riders
Free riders = reducing pollution tempts people to cheat Avoid sacrifices made by others They get a “free ride” Private voluntary efforts are less effective than efforts mandated by public policies All parties sacrifice equally

8 Policies address external costs
Environmental policies aim to promote fairness by dealing with external costs External costs = harmful impacts of market transactions are borne by people not involved in the transaction Polluter pays principal = polluters cover costs of impacts Environmental policy goals = to protect resources against the tragedy of the commons and to promote equity by eliminating free riders and addressing external costs

9 Many factors hinder environmental policy
Why are environmental laws challenged, ignored, and rejected by citizens and policymakers? Environmental policy involves government regulations Property owners and businesspeople think regulations are inconvenient and cause economic loss Problems develop gradually and over the long term Human behavior is geared toward short-term needs Businesses opt for short-term economic gain News media have short attention spans Politicians act out of short-term interest

10 Framework of U.S. policy The U.S. has pioneered innovative policies
Role models and influence for other nations Legislative branch = Congress creates statutory law Executive branch = enacts or vetoes legislation Laws are implemented and executed by agencies Executive orders = specific legal instructions for government agencies Judicial branch = interprets laws Precedents = guides for later cases Lawsuits are filed for and against protection

11 The “fourth branch” of government
Administrative agencies = the “fourth branch” Established by the president or Congress A source of policy through regulations Monitor and enforce compliance Regulations = specific rules or requirements to achieve objectives of broadly written statutory laws

12 State and local governmental policies
States, counties, and municipalities also generate environmental policies They can experiment with novel concepts California, New York, and Massachusetts have strong environmental laws Well-funded agencies Citizens value protecting the environment State laws cannot violate principles of the U.S. Constitution If laws conflict, federal laws take precedence

13 State and local agency involvement
California state and local agencies help regulate the impact of the International Wastewater Treatment Plant

14 Federal policymakers influence states
Rarely, federal laws may force states to change Federal policymakers can give financial incentives to encourage change (this works, if funds are adequate) “Cooperative federalism” = an agency works with state agencies to achieve national standards Despite pressure to weaken laws, federal control is vital to protect all citizens One national effort is more efficient than 50 efforts Transboundary disputes are minimized

15 Constitutional amendments
Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution Prohibits denying “equal protection of its laws” The constitutional basis for environmental justice Fifth Amendment = takings clause Bans the literal taking of private property Also bans regulatory taking, which deprives a property owner of economic uses of the property There is a sensitive balance between private rights and the public good

16 Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council
In 1992 the Supreme Court ruled that a state law intending to prevent serious public harm violated the takings clause Lucas, a land developer, was allowed to build homes on beachfront property Although a state agency had prohibited construction on the property

17 Early U.S. environmental policy
From 1780s to the late 1800s, promoted settlement and extraction of resources General Land Ordinances of 1785 and 1787 The federal government managed unsettled lands Surveying and readying them for sale Increased prosperity for citizens and railroad companies Relieved crowding in Eastern cities Displaced millions of Native Americans People believed land was infinite and inexhaustible

18 Typical laws of the 1780s–late 1800s
Homestead Act (1862) = anyone could buy or settle on 160 acres of public land

19 Typical laws of the 1780s–late 1800s
General Mining Act (1878) = people could mine on public land for $5/acre with no government oversight

20 Typical laws of the 1780s–late 1800s
Timber Culture Act (1873) = 160 acres to anyone promising to plant trees on 25% of that land

21 The second wave of U.S. policy
Public perception and government policy shifted Mitigated problems caused by westward expansion Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park, opened in 1872 Also, national wildlife refuges, parks, and forests Understood that the West’s resources were exhaustible They required legal protection Land management policies addressed soil conservation The 1964 Wilderness Act preserves pristine land

22 The third wave of U.S. environmental policy
Mid-to late-20th century people were better off economically But lived with dirtier air, dirtier water, and more waste and toxic chemicals Increased awareness of environmental problems shifted public priorities and policies Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) described the ecological and health effects of pesticides and chemicals

23 Modern U.S. environmental policy
The Cuyahoga River was so polluted that it caught fire in the 1950s and 1960s The public demanded more environmental protection

24 Modern U.S. environmental policy
Most Americans support environmental protection Millions of people celebrate Earth Day each April

25 The National Environmental Policy Act (1970)
NEPA began the modern era of environmental policy Created the Council on Environmental Quality Requires an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for any federal action that might significantly impact the environment It forces the government and businesses to evaluate the environmental impacts of a project Its cost-benefit approach usually does not halt projects It provides incentives to decrease damage Citizens are granted input into the policy process

26 The EPA shifts environmental policy
President Nixon’s executive order created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Conducts and evaluates research Monitors environmental quality Sets and enforces standards for pollution levels Assists states in meeting standards and goals Educates the public The EPA is a leading agency in developing solutions to pollution

27 Significant environmental laws
The public demanded a cleaner environment and supported tougher environmental legislation

28 Why did environmental policy change?
Several factors converged to allow major advances in environmental policy in the 1960s and 1970s Wide evidence of environmental problems People could visualize policies to deal with problems The political climate was ripe, with a supportive public and leaders who were willing to act Congress strengthened and elaborated laws in the 1980s Amendments to the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts

29 Many reacted against regulation
By 1990, many felt that regulations were too strict Attempts were made to weaken federal laws by Reagan, George W. Bush, and the Republican-controlled Congresses from 1994 to 2006 “The Death of Environmentalism” (1994) = the environmental movement had to be reinvented It must appeal to core values with an inspiring vision Show that these problems affect our quality of life President Obama’s election and a Democratic majority in Congress brought optimism back to environmentalists

30 Current environmental policy
Other nations have increased attention to issues The 1992 Earth Summit The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development This fourth wave of policy focuses on sustainability Safeguarding ecosystems while raising living standards Climate change dominates much discussion on environmental policy

31 Three major types of policy approaches

32 Conflicts can be addressed in court
Before legislation, lawsuits addressed U.S. policy issues Tort law = deals with one entity harming another Nuisance law = individuals suffering from pollution would seek redress through lawsuits Courts make polluters stop through injunctions or fines But justices were reluctant to hinder industry In Boomer v. Atlantic Cement Company, the company had to pay people for damages but could still operate The market decides between right and wrong This is not a viable option to prevent pollution

33 Approaches to environmental policy
Command-and-control approach: a regulating agency sets rules or limits Threatening punishment for violators It brings cleaner air, water, safer workplaces, etc. Government actions may be well-intentioned But not well-informed Interest groups—people seeking private gain— unduly influence politicians and work against public interests Citizens may view policies as restrictions on freedom Those policies will not remain in force

34 Green taxes discourage undesirable activities
Other approaches use innovation and efficiency to benefit the public Aim to internalize external costs Taxes discourage undesirable activities Green taxes = tax environmentally harmful activities Businesses reimburse the public for damage they cause The more pollution, the higher the tax payment Give companies financial incentives to reduce pollution with freedom to decide how to do so But costs are passed on to consumers

35 Subsidies promote certain activities
Subsidy = a government giveaway of cash or resources to encourage a particular activity Tax break = helps an entity by relieving its tax burden They have been used to support unsustainable activities Nations give $1.45 trillion/year in harmful subsidies From 2002 to 2008, U.S. fossil fuel companies received $72 billion of taxpayer money, while renewable energy received only $29 billion

36 Environmentally harmful subsidies
The General Mining Act of 1872 Mining companies get $500 million–$1 billion in minerals from U.S. public lands each year But they don’t pay a penny in royalties to taxpayers The government has given away $250 billion in mineral resources Mining activities have polluted 40% of Western watersheds The U.S. Forest Service spends $35 million of taxpayer money/year building roads for logging companies Companies sell the trees for profit

37 Harnessing market dynamics
Governments use financial incentives in direct and selective ways Subsidies and green taxes Financial incentives and market dynamics can also help in obtaining policy goals Ecolabeling = sellers advertise that they use sustainable practices Businesses win consumer confidence and outcompete less sustainably produced brands

38 Permit trading saves money
Permit trading = a government-created market in permits for an environmentally harmful activity Businesses buy, sell, trade these permits Cap-and-trade emissions trading system = the government sets pollution levels (“caps”) and issues permits Polluters can buy, sell, and trade these permits Pollution is reduced overall, but does increase around polluting plants Companies have an economic incentive to reduce emissions

39 Cap-and-trade and air pollution
A cap-and-trade system in the U.S. mandates lower sulfur dioxide emissions Emissions have decreased by 43% Cuts were obtained cheaper and more efficiently than command-and-control regulation With no effects on supply or economic growth Benefits outweigh costs 40 to 1 Markets in carbon emissions are sprouting up

40 Market incentives work at the local level
Municipalities charge residents for waste disposal, according to the amount of waste generated Cities tax disposal of costly items (tires, motor oil) Some cities give rebates for buying water-efficient appliances Power utilities give discounts to those buying efficient lightbulbs and appliances Well-planned market incentives can reduce environmental impact while minimizing costs to industry Easing concerns about government intrusion

41 Public-private partnerships
Public-private partnership = a for-profit entity does the work A private entity acts as overseer Public policy goals will be achieved in a timely, cost-effective manner Private entities try to maximize efficiency It is challenging to design workable partnerships while serving both private and public interests

42 Seven steps to making environmental policy
Creating environmental policy has several steps Requires initiative, dedication, and the support of many people

43 Step 1: Identify a problem
This requires curiosity, observation, record keeping, and an awareness of our relationship with the environment.

44 Step 2: Pinpoint causes of the problem
Involves scientific research Risk assessment = judging risks a problem poses to health or the environment

45 Step 3: Envision a solution
Risk management = developing strategies to minimize risk Involves social or political action

46 Step 4: Get organized Organizations are more effective than individuals But a motivated, informed individual can also succeed

47 Step 5: Cultivate access and influence
Lobbying = spending time and money to influence a politician Environmental advocates are not the most influential lobbyists

48 Who influences the policy process?
Political Action Committees (PACs) = raise money for political campaigns Corporations and industries can not make direct campaign contributions So they establish PACs to help candidates win A 2010 Supreme Court decision allows corporations and unions to buy ads for or against candidates The revolving door = movement of people between the private sector and government Intimate knowledge of an issue or conflict of interest?

49 Step 6: Shepherd the solution into law
Prepare a bill, or draft law, containing solutions Find members of the House and Senate to introduce the bill and shepherd it through committees The bill may become law or die in various ways

50 Step 6: Shepherd the solution into law

51 Step 7: Implement, assess, and interpret policy
Following a law’s enactment Administrative agencies implement regulations Policymakers and others evaluate the policy’s successes or failures The judicial branch interprets the law

52 Science plays a role, but can be politicized
Effective decisions are informed by scientific research A nation’s strength depends on its commitment to science Sometimes policymakers ignore science They let political ideology determine policy Government scientists have had their work censored, suppressed, or edited and their jobs threatened Unqualified people were put into power Most scientists greeted President Obama with relief When taxpayer-funded research is suppressed or distorted for political ends, everyone loses

53 International Environmental Policy
Environmental problems are not restricted by national borders Customary law = practices or customs held by most cultures Conventional law = from conventions or treaties Montreal Protocol = nations agreed to reduce ozone-depleting chemicals Kyoto Protocol = reduces fossil fuel emissions causing climate change Nations can also make progress through multilateral agreements, hard work, and diplomacy

54 Organizations shape international policy
International organizations influence nations through funding, peer pressure, and media attention United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Helps nations understand and solve environmental problems

55 The World Bank and European Union
The World Bank = one of the world’s largest funding sources for economic development Dams, irrigation, infrastructure Funds unsustainable, environmentally damaging projects The European Union (EU) seeks to promote Europe’s unity, economic and social progress Can sign binding treaties and enact regulations Can also issue advisory directives Sees environmental regulations as barriers to trade

56 The World Trade Organization (WTO)
Represents multinational corporations Promotes free trade Can impose penalties on nations that don’t comply with its directives Interprets environmental laws as unfair barriers to trade Brazil and Venezuela filed a complaint against U.S. regulations requiring cleaner-burning fuel The WTO agreed with Brazil and Venezuela, despite threats to human health Critics charge the WTO aggravates environmental problems

57 NGOs Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) = entities that influence international policy ENGOs (environmental NGOs) = groups advocating for environmental protection Some do not get politically involved Others try to shape policy through research, education, lobbying, or protest

58 International institutions weld influence
Globalization is making our world more interconnected Societies and ecosystems are being changed at unprecedented rates Trade and technology allow increased consumption Consumptive nations exert incredible impacts Multinational corporations operate outside the reach of national laws They don’t have the incentive to conserve resources or act sustainably Organizations and institutions that shape policy are vital

59 Conclusion Environmental policy is a problem-solving tool
It uses science, ethics, and economics Conventional command-and-control approach uses legislation and regulations to make policy It is the most common approach Tort law is still influential Market-based policies are being developed Environmental issues span political boundaries Requiring international cooperation

60 QUESTION: Review _______ involves “laws and regulations that affect resource use.” a) Tort law b) Environmental policy c) Market failure d) Tragedy of the commons Answer: b

61 QUESTION: Review Which of the following is NOT a goal of environmental policy? a) Protecting resources against the tragedy of the commons b) Elimination of free riders c) Externalizing internal costs d) Promoting equity Answer: c

62 QUESTION: Review Why are environmental laws challenged, ignored, and rejected by citizens and policymakers? a) Many think regulations cause economic loss. b) Businesses opt for short-term economic gain. c) Politicians act out of short-term interest. d) All of these are reasons environmental laws are not well-liked by many people. Answer: d

63 QUESTION: Review Under the General Mining Act (1878):
a) Economically expensive projects are proposed. b) Anyone could buy or settle on 160 acres of public land. c) People could mine on public land for $5/acre with no government oversight. d) Anyone promising to plant trees on 25% of their land could get 160 acres. Answer: c

64 QUESTION: Review Which of the following is NOT a duty of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? a) Conducts and evaluates research b) Monitors environmental quality c) Sets and enforces standards for pollution levels d) All of these are duties of the EPA Answer: d

65 QUESTION: Review Which of the following entities provides funding to build dams, irrigation facilities, and infrastructure? a) NGOs b) The EU c) The World Bank d) The WTO Answer: c

66 QUESTION: Viewpoints According to the Fifth Amendment, should a landowner be able to oppose an environmental restriction and build a hazardous waste dump in a residential neighborhood? Yes, property owners should be allowed to do whatever they want with their land. Yes, if the neighbors agree. Yes, but only if the courts allow it. No, private property development must be restricted if it affects other people’s property. Answer: any

67 QUESTION: Viewpoints Should the United States continue providing subsidies and tax breaks to private industries that negatively affect the environment? Yes, the free market must not be interrupted. Yes, but only if the negatively affected region is poor and has a high jobless rate. No, companies should survive or fail on their own, without government help. Answer: any

68 QUESTION: Interpreting Graphs and Data
What major conclusion can be drawn from this graph on emissions trading of sulfur dioxide? a) Emissions have increased since 2000. b) Emissions have decreased, but are above permitted levels. c) The U.S. no longer emits sulfur dioxide. d) Permitted levels have been lowered. Answer: b

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