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Chapter 2 Environmental Laws, Economics and Ethics.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 2 Environmental Laws, Economics and Ethics."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 2 Environmental Laws, Economics and Ethics

2 Overview of Chapter 2 o Brief US Environmental History o US Environmental Legislation o Economics and the Environment o Environmental Problems in Central and Eastern Europe o Environmental Ethics, Values and Worldviews

3 Environmental History of the US o 1600s - early 1800s = Frontier Attitude Natural Resources (land, timber soil, water) seemed inexhaustible Natural Resources (land, timber soil, water) seemed inexhaustible Widespread Environmental Destruction Widespread Environmental Destruction Dominated by Frontier Attitude Establishment of Jamestown, VA

4 Environmental History of US John James Audobon ( ) Henry David Thoreau ( ) George Perkins Marsh ( ) o 19th century- US Naturalists voiced concerns about natural resources Audobon- painting increased interest in environment Audobon- painting increased interest in environment Thoreau- naturalist author on simplifying life Thoreau- naturalist author on simplifying life Marsh- wrote Man and Nature Marsh- wrote Man and Nature

5 Environmental History of US o General Revision Act Gave President Authority to establish forest reserves Gave President Authority to establish forest reserves Presidents Harrison, Cleveland, Roosevelt put 17.4 million hectares into reserve Presidents Harrison, Cleveland, Roosevelt put 17.4 million hectares into reserve Roosevelt reserved additional 6.5 million hectares before signing bill preventing further forest reservation Roosevelt reserved additional 6.5 million hectares before signing bill preventing further forest reservation 1875 American Forestry Assoc. Formed General Revision Act 1890 Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks Established

6 Environmental History of US o Utilitarian Conservationist Roosevelt Roosevelt Value natural resources for their usefulness Value natural resources for their usefulness o Biocentric Preservationist John Muir (founded Sierra Club) John Muir (founded Sierra Club) Fought for National Parks Fought for National Parks Protect nature because all life deserves respect Protect nature because all life deserves respect

7 Environmental History of US o Antiquities Act Allows president to set aside sites of scientific or historical importance (monuments) Allows president to set aside sites of scientific or historical importance (monuments) o American Dust Bowl (1930s droughts) Basis for Soil Conservation Service Basis for Soil Conservation Service Created by Franklin Roosevelt Created by Franklin Roosevelt 1906 Antiquities Act Creation of Soil Conservation Service 1916 National Park Service Created

8 Environmental History of US o 20 th Century Naturalists Leopold- Author (A Sand Country Almanac) Leopold- Author (A Sand Country Almanac) Stegner- Author (“Wilderness Essay”) Stegner- Author (“Wilderness Essay”) Carson- Author (Silent Spring) Carson- Author (Silent Spring) Heightened awareness of DDT and pesticides Heightened awareness of DDT and pesticides Aldo Leopold ( ) Wallace Stegner ( ) Rachel Carson ( )

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10 US Environmental Legislation o Environmental Protection Agency Est Est o National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Cornerstone of Environmental Law Cornerstone of Environmental Law Requires Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for any proposed federal action Requires Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for any proposed federal action Ex: highway or dam construction Ex: highway or dam construction EIS must answer many questions (next slide) EIS must answer many questions (next slide) Revolutionized environmental protection in US Revolutionized environmental protection in US

11 Environmental Impact Statements

12 US Environmental Legislation o Numerous laws passed since 1970 o They address: Clean water Clean water Clean air Clean air Energy conservation Energy conservation Hazardous waste Hazardous waste Pesticides Pesticides Federal regulation of pollution Federal regulation of pollution

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15 Effects of Environmental Legislation (According to EPA’s Draft Report on the Environment 2003) o Since 1970, 6 air pollutants have dropped by 25% 6 air pollutants have dropped by 25% o Since 1990 wet sulfate levels decreased 20-30% wet sulfate levels decreased 20-30% o In % of US had healthy drinking water (up from 79% in 1993) 94% of US had healthy drinking water (up from 79% in 1993) o As of of 1498 Superfund Sites are cleaned up 846 of 1498 Superfund Sites are cleaned up o Fewer streams violate water standards

16 Economics and the Environment o Economics- study of how people use limited resources to satisfy unlimited wants Analytical tools include models Analytical tools include models

17 Precepts to study Economics o Economics is utilitarian Goods and services have value that can be converted to currency Goods and services have value that can be converted to currency o Rational Actor Model Assumes all individuals spend limited resources to maximize individual utilities Assumes all individuals spend limited resources to maximize individual utilities o Ideal economy Resources are allocated efficiently Resources are allocated efficiently

18 Optimum Level of Pollution o Optimum Level of Pollution Cost to society of having less pollution is offset by benefits to society of activity creating pollution Cost to society of having less pollution is offset by benefits to society of activity creating pollution o Must identify Marginal Cost of Pollution- Cost of small additional amount of pollution Marginal Cost of Pollution- Cost of small additional amount of pollution Marginal Cost of Abatement- Cost of reducing small amount of pollution Marginal Cost of Abatement- Cost of reducing small amount of pollution

19 Economic Optimum Level of Pollution

20 Private vs Social Cost of Pollution

21 Strategies for Pollution Control o Command and Control Solutions Government agency requires limitations to emissions or pollutants Government agency requires limitations to emissions or pollutants Discourages development of low-cost alternatives Discourages development of low-cost alternatives Economists dislike this Economists dislike this o Environmental Taxes/ Tradable Permits If taxes are set at correct level private marginal cost of pollution = social cost of pollution If taxes are set at correct level private marginal cost of pollution = social cost of pollution Economists like this Economists like this

22 Effect of Tax on Optimum Pollution

23 Critiques of Environmental Economics o Difficult to assess true costs of environmental pollution and abatement Impacts of pollution on people and nature is uncertain Impacts of pollution on people and nature is uncertain Ecosystem services have no known value Ecosystem services have no known value o Utilitarian economics may not be appropriate Dynamic changes and time are not considered Dynamic changes and time are not considered Based only on monetary value – what is monetary value of clean earth? Based only on monetary value – what is monetary value of clean earth?

24 National Income Accounts o Estimates of National Economic Performance and used in Politics Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Net Domestic Product (NDP) Net Domestic Product (NDP) o Environment may be overexploited to yield a higher GDP in developing countries o EPI (Environmental Performance Index) Assesses a country’s commitment to environmental and resource management Assesses a country’s commitment to environmental and resource management

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26 Case Study- Environmental Problems in Eastern Europe o Fall of Communist governments revealed large environmental destruction Soil and water poisoned Soil and water poisoned Unidentified leaks in dumping sites Unidentified leaks in dumping sites Industry with air pollutants causing acid rain Industry with air pollutants causing acid rain Children with chronic asthma, bronchitis, and heart problems Children with chronic asthma, bronchitis, and heart problems

27 o Meeting industrial quotas took precedence over environmental concerns o Switch from communism to market economies- need to improve environment Will take decades to clean up polluting economics of communism Will take decades to clean up polluting economics of communism o Success varies by country Romania- EPI = 90 th Romania- EPI = 90 th Czech Republic- EPI = 4 th Czech Republic- EPI = 4 th Case Study- Environmental Problems in Eastern Europe

28 Environmental Ethics o Field of ethics that considers the moral basis of environmental responsibility o Western Worldview Human superiority and dominance over nature Human superiority and dominance over nature o Deep Ecology Worldview All species have an equal worth to humans All species have an equal worth to humans o Most people’s ethics fall somewhere in between


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