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Parker Kellam
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I thought this report touched on a lot of things we've talked about the last few weeks in class. While many of the assessments reported slowed or stopped activity of recommendations, there was one thing in these that really stood out to me. The caption for Fig. 3 states, "Nearly half of the $8 billion (in 2014dollars) in ARRA RD&D funds went to fossil energy RD&D, focused almost entirely in carbon-capture technology and advanced coal-combustion technologies." While the RD&D funds did go to fossil fuels, it gave me hope that it was geared toward carbon-capture. That's definitely a start in the long road we have ahead of us. Additionally, I agree with Nick on his point about India, but want to take it in another direction. He said that our reductions (if made) would be meaningless if developing countries begin to consume energy with large carbon emissions. However, I'd beg to differ to some extent, but will ultimately arrive at the same conclusion that it is a global problem. If US emissions don't change and developing countries also begin to emit at a high rate, CO2 will continue to increase even more which could lead to more drastic climate change effects. If we were to reduce our levels, the overall CO2 levels would also be less. Whether high or low, these levels will affect people all over the world. The question is, to what extent? Therefore, it still could matter what the US decides to do and we should feel responsibility as part of the global community.
Toggle Commented Apr 3, 2017 on Last chance to comment at Jolly Green General
I don't think this piece offered any new ideas, however it built upon so many already talked about in the context of climate change and its impacts felt in different parts of the world and by different people. With such a broad overview, bringing so much information together in one place, it is no wonder to me that there is so much uncertainty about the extent of the facts. Yes, climate change is certainly a real thing and accepted by so many; but what really got me thinking was how many different events that could happen that could then lead to multiple more. Depending on X first and large events to happen, a certain chain of events will take place next. This chain could differ if it was Y first and large events that set them off. I almost got the feeling that there was always going to be uncertainty until we knew what events unfolded and at that point hindsight is 20/20. The thing is though, if we don't act in some capacity now to mitigate warming things will continue to get worse and the results we will see will be so much more drastic.
Toggle Commented Mar 29, 2017 on ECON 255 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
This week's readings lead me to think of a few questions: First, if politicians didn't feel like they needed to watch out for their own jobs, would there be more political support the carbon tax? Second, if a tax can be implemented without harming the poor, and doing minimal damage for firms with high emissions, are there other reasons a carbon tax could raise objections? And finally, Murray and Rivers state: "Between its inception in 2008 and 2015, the BC carbon tax has generated C$6.1 billion in revenue, yet corresponding tax cuts have been more than C$7.1 billion." Maybe I am misunderstanding something, but shouldn't that benefit the people of BC is the cuts were more than the taxes raised? Before reading these papers, I thought that I could get behind a carbon tax. The papers further fortified my thoughts. If done in a thoughtful way, the tax could be very beneficial.
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2017 on Econ 255 readings - update at Jolly Green General
My thoughts on the piece, are similar to so many others above. I had really only ever heard of the negative impacts of fracking, and had you asked me earlier this week, I probably would have told you I'd be very against it. This article did a good job of laying out the positive externalities while still addressing the negative as well. There are a few things I am still fuzzy on though, so I am interested to see where the class discussion goes tomorrow, to grasp the concept better.
Like many others it seems, the piece that struck me most was "Back to the Future." It was interesting to me because Schrag hinted to a point that I have always thought about but never heard many others ever mention. He talked about "decisions that determine our fate." By the end of the presidential election in November, it had become very clear to me how passionate I was about the environment, and I always wondered while people were so concerned with so many other matters. Let me be clear, my political knowledge about many things is extremely small and I am not negating the importance of these other things, BUT it always puzzled me that environmental issues are not always at the forefront. The way I see it, if we don't take of the earth and we let it continue to degrade, someday, as Schrag said in another article- who knows when, we won't even be around to care about all of the other political issues. To some extent, it almost seems like this is beginning to become true, especially when you add the loss of lives and land into cost estimates of natural disasters that are most likely effected by climate change. It seems like we most certainly are living an experiment, just trying to figure how much time can go by before we really have to do something, but I'm afraid by the time enough people realize this, it will be too late.
Toggle Commented Mar 9, 2017 on Econ 255 for next week at Jolly Green General
The opening sentence of the conclusions says, "The electricity derived from coal is an integral part of our daily lives." This general idea was about the only benefit I found that paper mentioned (granted it never said it was going to address those). That said, I'm curious after reading about all of the costs associated with coal mining, why we have let it continue for so long. It seems like the costs and negative externalities produced far exceed the benefits. If this is the case, why hasn't our innovation of substitution kicked in here?
Toggle Commented Feb 28, 2017 on Econ 255 reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
The paper briefly mentioned that there were currently no fees to be able to access the MPA, but did not offer entrance fees as any sort of solution. It left me wondering... would it be possible, and if so to what effect, to implement a a fee that could then be put towards paying more personnel to enforce MPA restrictions? It seemed like a lot of focus was put towards pollution from sites outside the MPA, but I can't help but think enforcement on the inside would help too.
As a novice diver and someone interested in marine conservation and biology, this paper made so much sense to me. Given that most of the people who participated in this study were from affluent backgrounds, I don't think it would necessarily hurt the dive shops of Barbados to up their prices, especially since most divers seem to recognize the inherent values of reefs an oceans. I think it would have been interesting to see how psychological benefits of being in this particular water environment would have also affected price. We talked briefly in class the other day about how the knowledge of one beneficial fact about the reef could influence a person's value of the reef. I am currently reading "Blue Mind" by Dr. Wallace 'J' Nichols, so I have been often thinking about the mentality of being in, on, near, or under water. I wonder if exposure to any psychological studies concerning this matter would have changed the divers' choices or values.
I must admit, though I had often heard of "Tragedy of the Commons," this was the first time I had read it. The small example it touched on about marine resources/ environments got me thinking about the Marine Policy class at Duke last fall. Often we looked through the lens of resource management, and what policies could be identified and possibly instated to secure these resources for generations to come. From the different island cultures we studied, fishing was a way life, so any infringement on their fishing rights was seen as a threat to their welfare... that they might not bounce back... without recognizing that overfishing was much more likely to harm their welfare in the long run. Like Philip, I had never thought of this as an overpopulation issue, but more as a lack of knowledge issue. However, I wonder how the idea of abandoning the freedom to breed would be received in such small communities, especially when children are expected to help serve and support the family from a young age. Sure, one could argue that having a cap on the amount of children each family produced would limit the amount of mouths they had to feed, but I think the cultural shock there, as well as elsewhere, would be great. I certainly did a double take, while reading the paper. I'm curious though if higher access to Tragedy of the Commons in isolated areas would help the people to err on the side of marine policy or other legislative movements instead of reluctance.
As someone who has only taken one Econ course, a few years ago I might add, I had very mixed understanding of the articles. Some, like the Stavins paper, made much more sense than others. I was surprised to hear about so much overlap between economics and the environment, but after reading the explantations, especially of the Stavins piece, I can see why. By Stavins account, it seems that many economists care for the environment, but do recognize that their normal way of solving problems will not always be the case when it comes to the environment. I think what made it all click for me a little better was his comment, "Environmental economists are interested in pollution and other externalities, where some consequences of producing or consuming a good or service are external to the market, that is, not considered by producers or consumers. With a negative externality, such as environmental pollution, the total social cost of production may thus exceed the value to consumers. If the market is left to itself, too many pollution-generating products get produced." In this case, I see how associated market values may helpful, but I also agree with him that other times, the standard economic approaches cannot be applied, but that seems to leave many other doors open. All of that said, it seems amazing to me that 2500 economists could agree on a platform that aimed to better the environment through a named set of solutions as Krugman highlighted.