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Haley Miller
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First of all, the picture of all the kids forming the massive shark and shield is really impressive. Maybe the education of the younger generations will put a halt to ocean destruction and maybe even reverse some of the effects. The situation in Southeast Asia and Indonesia is extremely dire and whole fishing economies could disappear if the first are not even given a chance to reproduce before they are harvested. The acidification is yet another negative effect of CO2 emissions. I wonder how many negative effects need to be recorded before policy makers take extreme action, or any action at all.
Wow. Matthew Tejada is only 33 and already the Director of the Office of Environmental Justice at the EPA. I am astounded at the experience and success at such a (relatively) young age. The issue of environmental justice is especially important for those who live and work in polluted areas. Tejada makes a great point that environmental justice isn't solely liked to one issue such as air pollution, but is a holistic concept that needs to consider many factors. I appreciate his diplomatic style in attempting to deal with polluters and let them know the costs of their actions before pressing a lawsuit. John's point (above) is very interesting about the probability of greater communities with high environmental needs as income disparity increases.
I agree with Emily's comment that in light of recent extreme weather events in New York, the political climate is likely more open to mitigation efforts. While the effects of CO2 emissions will last long past adaptation efforts, it will improve future outlooks for New York and the world as a whole. It seems incredible that the savings in health related cost is so high: $33 billion per year. Although I question the feasibility of a full conversion, especially transportation, it is interesting that it is a possibility.
It is interesting to note, based on our recent readings about the efficiency of taxation over cap and trade, that Obama is pursuing a permit system to reduce CO2 emissions. However, it appears from previous domestic and international experiences that permit systems are efficient and cost-saving. It is extremely disappointing that conservatives have chosen to "draw a line in the sand" about climate litigation. Economics exists within the natural environment, not separate from it. Climate change policy is necessary for economic strength, not detrimental to it.
Toggle Commented Mar 11, 2013 on Another Political Football at Jolly Green General
Wow. What stronger evidence of the need for environmental action does the world need before we take action? Although the smog and dust were due to a sandstorm, they provided a visual-to-the-naked-eye look at what is in the air, although there are even more dangerous, non-visible particles present. Pollution is not "debatable" like climate change (at least in Congress). It is visible and is clearly linked to adverse health effects and economic effects. I sincerely hope the new administration in China works towards bettering the environment for the health of the population. I wonder where the dust eventually settled and how the water quality was affected.
Toggle Commented Mar 3, 2013 on Off The Charts at Jolly Green General
This article is very encouraging that lawmakers are taking global climate change seriously and have begun to seek solutions instead of debate the validity of the issue. Under the cap and trade program, businesses are investing further in clean energy sources and finding success. Energy costs have been reduced, benefiting the consumer, and jobs have been created. Although there may be other factors which contributed to the lower costs and stronger economy, the cap and trade program certainly did not cause harm. And the benefit to the environment is undeniable. I think it is great that some states have put revenues into ensuring low-income citizens don't suffer unnecessarily under the program. While protecting the environment is extremely important, policy shouldn't harm human lives.
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2013 on Hurray for Market Forces!!!! at Jolly Green General
This article was particularly interesting to me since I worked in the agriculture industry last summer and saw firsthand the costs associated with draught and rising temperatures. The lower levels of crop production (especially corn) and increase mortality rate of livestock caused food production prices to skyrocket. These prices will be passed along to the consumer. Although it may not represent a huge burden on those who do not use the majority of their incomes on food, people in poverty around the world will face dire consequences of rising food costs. I like the idea of increasing taxes on energy to account for the social costs, but again, the highest burden will be placed on the poor unless taxes were lowered in other areas or the revenue was used to relieve the burden. I like the idea of increasing taxes on energy to account for the social costs, but again, the highest burden will be placed on the poor unless taxes were lowered in other areas or the revenue was used to relieve the burden.
It appears from the initial result of the cap and trade program that it was very effective by reducing pollution and raising money. However it would be interesting to see the financial effects on the industries and companies affected by the cap and trade program. The benefits of the cap and trade program are that the amount of emissions is cut to the optimal pollution level but the price level is dependent on the marginal abatement costs. It seems counter-intuitive that the lower emissions due to the success of the program and lower cost of natural gas would encourage lawmakers to allow more emissions. This will reduce the cost of "dirty" emissions and thus make it more favorable again. The technology developed under more expensive emission regulations will improve the efficiency and cleanliness of energy and will be beneficial to society in the long run.
Companies should not be pursued for climate effects possibly caused by their emissions. Playing the blame-game after green house gasses have been emitted and changes have occurred does not solve the problem of emissions. Legislation should instead focus on the front-end of the issue and enforce existing regulations. Blame for climate change can not be placed only on large energy and gas companies but upon each individual who emits greenhouse gases. Theoretically using a aerosol spray in Lexington, VA could have an effect on rising water levels. Individuals need to take personal responsibility for their emissions. As the article states, the complexity of proving that a particular weather problem is due to a particular country's, company's or individuals emissions is daunting and defense lawyers will not have a hard time coming up with other explanations for the problem. Also, I don't think that companies which emit greenhouse gasses should be compared to tobacco companies. After all, they are not spewing emissions for profit; they are producing products used by the public. Although this is an incredible complicated international issues, I do not believe that suing emitters of greenhouse gasses for the (possible/probable) effects is the appropriate course of action.
This article presented the alarming argument that the United States is approaching a "tipping-point" on debt to GDP ratio and the world is approaching a "tipping-point" in carbon levels. The debt tipping-point will be reached when growth and stability decrease as debt to GDP ratio rises, making it nearly impossible to have a stable economy, let alone begin to repay the debt. The climate tipping point will occur when carbon levels reach 450 p.p.m. at which point the permafrost will rapidly melt and release methane into the atmosphere. Although it would be infeasible to take drastic measures on either situation, the author argues for action to be taken while it still has a chance of making a difference.
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Jan 9, 2013