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Katja Kleine
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I agree with the previous posts that Hausman takes an unnecessarily strong stance against Contingent Valuation Method. I particularly agree with what Callie said, it is better to have a range of numbers than no numbers at all. Surely having some sort of sense of how much a good is valued is better than having no sense at all. I do think it is good to question the quality of the practices that we use, but dooming one as "hopeless" when many top profit-maximizing firms use this practice all the time is extreme. Wen does bring up valid concerns over the psychological impacts that people face when using CVM. Ideally, we would like to have perfect information and no hypothetical bias. But, since that is not possible I definitely think that there are precautions that can be made to help combat some of that misinformation and hypothetical bias. Maybe our approach should be more towards correcting possible errors in that arena instead of disregarding a whole evaluation method.
I was happy to see that there has been a movement towards solar energy in California. Despite the large startup costs, there are likely even more benefits than mentioned in the article. I agree with Avery that the California legislation has actually done great things for the state of California by making it necessary and possible to create new sources of renewable energy. The construction of this plant and maintenance will be helpful to the economy by making jobs and keeping them there in California, especially if other companies are leaving. Although I would like to know an answer to a point Nick brought up. What is the lifespan of a plant this size? How often would the towers and panels need to be replaced? These sort of questions have a large implications for how costly this endeavor actually will be.
I agree with the point brought up by many, including Will: The ocean is just so big we really don’t understand the full impact of what humans have done to change the oceans. That is a particularly scary thought given the fact that we have already done so much that we can visibly and physically account for. I think that one of the main purposes of the article, was that it highlighted the need for more international legislation on what we do and do not allow in the world’s oceans. Although it would be difficult to get full participation and just all around be a difficult process, it may be a worthwhile and necessary endeavor. Without stricter restrictions, like banning bottom-trawling how can we stop overfishing? We can also relate this to the Environmental Justice issue that many of the people who are suffering most are those in poor coastal communities who rely on fishing for the protein source and livelihood.
I was happy to learn more about the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice. I honestly did not know that we had an Office of Environmental Justice and it is reassuring to hear that we do! It sounds like Matthew Tejada will be an excellent fit for this position because of his grassroots experience. I think that grassroots advocacy is something lacking in all areas that effect minority and low income communities. You rarely hear people in those communities advocating for themselves, likely because they need encouragement or reassurance that their voices matter. It sounds like that is what Tejada and the Air Alliance Houston have provided for Galena Park. Like Holly and Kate both mentioned, parts of this article related to Laura Henson’s talk on communication. I think that having somebody in the EPA who has experience integrating into low income minority communities will be extremely valuable. He will know the reservations of people, and know to look at the comprehensive picture (including access to healthcare and transportation). And he also will have the tools to encourage those communities to speak out and stand up for themselves. Additionally, I think that spreading awareness of the differences in pollution distribution in the United States is a tangible way to get people thinking about how energy consumption directly affects others. Sometimes this can be even more powerful than using a global example for the simple reason that people relate more closely to people in the United States.
In response to Shawn and Katherine, I had a much different experience while I was in Denmark this past semester. There, the wind turbines are seen are a very aesthetically pleasing and the Danes are very proud of their wind turbines. In fact, they are featured in much of their artwork. When I first arrived in Denmark, the first thing my host parents pointed out to me was their "beautiful windmills" and bragged about how sustainable their energy sources were and how advance they were compared to the rest of the world. I think this shows the one of the main cultural obstacles that we have to overcome in order to move towards a society that COULD be more wind based. Maybe we need more of a shift in the way we literally view clean energy. Because if we think of wind turbines as beautiful, that would actually keep our beaches and the places we love around a lot longer than if we don't make that sacrifice. Secondly, I liked this articles to the jobs that this would create. It reminded me of the talk we went to on Wednesday night. Clean energy would require a huge overhaul and would yield many many more jobs than the ones that we currently have in the energy industry. So, this could be a really great investment for a recovering economy.
I was personally interested in this article for the reasons that Gyung and Katherine bought up. I had many friends study abroad in the early summer in 2008. They were all athletes and mostly cross country runners. Despite China's cleanup efforts, they were disgusted by the air quality at that time. They said they literally could not run outside without getting dizzy or feeling sick. If those are the short term effects, it is very scary to think about the long term effects of living in that environment. BUT, I think that we can learn a lot about what China did for the Olympics. The Olympics generate revenue and are a good way to improve global standing (especially the second for China). And look at the efforts they made to improve pollution and air quality for that? I think that this is proof that economic incentives can be effective. When faced with a lot of gain, China put up the cost to reduce pollution and improve air quality. Similarly, it shows how stigmas and social pressure can sometimes play a large role in environmental policy. Of course, this was a short term solution, but if there was a way to create similar incentives both socially and economically we may encourage other countries (and ourselves) to put up the money to address environmental issues.
Toggle Commented Mar 4, 2013 on Off The Charts at Jolly Green General
I would be really interested to know more about the methodology behind the claim that the closure of these plants will result in preventing "203 early deaths, 310 heart attacks, 3,160 asthma attacks". This seems to be the hardest part of addressing environmental issues so I was happy to see some calculation. Likewise, I think this rhetoric could be used for a strong moral-suasion. For example, maybe targeting specific companies in specific communities and articulating the lives that WILL most likely be lost if things don't change could be powerful.
I liked Kate's comments about how Global Warming and climate change need to be international issues. I applaud Obama for mentioning and addressing climate change in his speech, but I would also like to see some actual change in policy. My worry is that issues like the economy and healthcare many times seem more urgent that climate issues, which is why they so often get pushed back. Additionally, I assume that the polls are subject to hypothetical bias. Many Americans I think say that the climate change is an important issue, but if the question was who would support higher taxes to achieve a healthier climate, I do not think the numbers would have been as high.
I agree that Eric that it is pretty embarrassing that the US ranks second to last in our average effective tax rate on carbon admission. And I appreciate the approach at this article took towards linking natural disasters with global climate change. I am not an expert in this arena, but it is my understanding that there is scientific support for global warming attributing to and intensifying these natural disasters. And even if there is not as strong evidence for natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, there is definitely support for rising sea levels causing flooding, which has had huge economic impacts for other countries. I would like to know the cost of all of that very visible damage. I also recently watched a documentary about Hurricane Katrina. In looking back upon the documentary and I found it interesting that climate change and our governments lack on involvement in that aspect wasn't mention at all. Finally, I would like to know how a carbon tax would effect different income levels in the United States. Would it be regressive like a gas tax? Or because of high income, high carbon activities (like flying), would a carbon tax be more equitable.
I found this article very informative. This reminded me of the discussion we had in class about how Adam Smith's "invisible hand" concept has possibly been misrepresented. I think the Pigouvian tax is victim to this same problem. I don't think that many people question the difference between fiscal and behavioral taxes. And why should we if the models we see also make sense? I think the mindset I have always had was “so what” about deadweight loss if we are helping the environment and probably making significant strides towards protecting people and resources in the future. But, this is a little hard to argue. It will be nice to point out this distinction between fiscal and behavioral taxes as talk about implementing a gas or carbon tax hopefully become more prevalent. Finally, I think it is interesting to note what country Professor Zetland is from: the Netherlands. I don’t know much about the Netherlands environmental policy, but given the amount that they use bikes for transportation and a brief Google search, it seems like the are more receptive to positive environmental policy than we may be here in the United States.
Toggle Commented Jan 21, 2013 on My Bad..... at Jolly Green General
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Jan 21, 2013