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Tim Werner
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I think this paper echoed not only the topic of women empowerment that we read earlier this term, but also the study of deworming and its effect on schooling. The effects of malaria on human capital are undoubtedly profound. Obviously, mortality rates from malaria on the youth population are startling, but I was more intrigued at how the disease could affect pregnant mothers, whom experience diminished immunity to the disease, and children before birth. These effects that include low birth weight, cognitive development, and learning ability are directly linked to education and any expectations for future human capital investment, which is a key factor in economic growth. This paper overlaps the study on deworming and educational benefits where Sachs and Maloney note that children with malaria tend to have poorer nutritional status than non-malarial children. Recall in the deworming study that children with these worms performed poorly in school due to intestinal worms ability to hinder their nutrition intake. Similarly, malarial children are at a disadvantage in school due to poor nutrition. They are also at a disadvantage due to malaria’s effect on cognitive development. Low birth weight, which Sachs and Maloney also mention as one of the affects of malaria, increases the likelihood of failure in school 2-4 times. It is a problem that the overall impact of malaria on human capital development in children has not been extensively explored or quantified. For Sachs and Maloney to say that “the impact of malaria on economic growth rates through mechanism of depressing the rate of human capital accumulation could be considerable” is truly an understatement. Nevertheless, reducing malaria, just like women empowerment and deworming, has its economic benefits (many of which I have not mentioned), but should be treated as an end in itself.
I agree with Nick’s thoughts earlier that the global economy cannot be represented accurately with models for a few reasons: variables are often omitted, models require assumptions, and the application of models in econometrics at least is unrealistic since variables are held constant but at the same time variables may interact with each other. Complex models seem to be too complicated in application, which is why I believe simple models are often favored. The part of this article that really grabbed my attention was in Krugman’s conclusion when he states that “It is hard to know whether economic policy in the real world would have been much better if high development theory had not decayed so badly...” There is no certain evidence that it would have been better or worse if high development theory had prevailed, but this line still left me in a trance of if the undeveloped countries of the world became central parts of the global economy today. Krugman’s point reinforces the idea that economists really do not know what the effect of applying a model will be until it is applied; a theory or model that is successful when applied in one country may not have the same desired or expected outcome as when it is applied to another country.
After reading this article, I find it unbelievable that a method like bottom-trawling exists and has not been banned when all of its negative effects are considered. I cannot imagine what percentage of that catch is actually brought to the market and not just killed and thrown back into the ocean. I will not go much further into that since Hampton addressed a lot of those points about fishing methods above. More alarming to me in this article was the profound effect of pollution on the ocean’s acidity, and as a result, the effect it will have on the marine-food chain and the existence of coral. The article really put into perspective how fortunate I am to have seen the Great Barrier Reef; it upsets me to read about its imminent death. Furthermore, I am disheartened to read in this article about another reef discovered in Norway only a short time ago that will be dead before 2020 at this rate. After reading Callum Roberts quote before the end of this article, I would like to know how extreme the regulations (cutback on fishing, waste, etc.) they would need to implement to protect the oceans due to the fact that “most of the world’s ocean is located outside of international law and legal control.” Therefore, they would be forced to regulate these standards in areas that are under international law and legal control. Meanwhile, if people, commercial fishermen for example, wanted to continue the bad practices, they could move into the non-regulated waters.
Sorry, I didn't see the second page of comments and it looks like many of my points have already been mentioned in the previous posts
I agree with Sommer's comments for the most part. It seems like this article is very optimistic about this plan to switch New York to renewable energy within 20 years. I am curious about the specifics as to how New York State would implement such a plan. Some questions that I immediately thought of are: would all these wind turbines be on state owned land like the Adirondack Park or the Catskills? Will they harm the ecosystem in addition to taking away the aesthetic beauty of the state parks? What tax will they use to raise funds for such a project? In addition, the long term cost is worth it given the information of today; preventing 4000 premature deaths each year, reducing power demand, and reducing health care costs. However, the cost of the capital alone seems overwhelming. Nevertheless, given today's information the idea is worth it. I may seem more optimistic than this article since I think that within that 20 year timeline to switch New York to renewable energy, a more cost effective alternative will arise whether it be a new source of energy or major improvements to the capital and storage of energy involved in such a project.
I find it interesting that AEP’s action to shut down these 3 coal-burning plants was in response to a lawsuit in 1999, and as Tyler stated, if a carbon tax had been in place instead of the lawsuit, how would the outcome have changed. Moreover, the article states that the original lawsuit filed in 1999 was concerned for the environmental costs of pollution caused by these coal-burning plants drifting east. I’m interested to know if a carbon tax or cap and trade had been previously passed if the outcome would be different. If these coal-burning plants were on the east coast, would a lawsuit ever have been filed and would these plants continue to operate in the future? In this case, the environmental costs of pollution drifting eastward would occur off the coast, and perhaps less people would be immediately affected by the early deaths, heart attacks or asthma attacks caused by their pollution. The lawsuit in 1999 was successful in shutting down these harmful, coal-burning plants. However, if AEP strategically located the plants to prevent such a lawsuit, I question if they would have addressed this pollution by shutting down these 3 plants or if it would take a future carbon tax or cap and trade to achieve the same outcome.
After reading about suspended particulate matter and its effect on human health earlier this week, I found this article very interesting because it further investigates the effects of black carbon, specifically on climate change. New estimates reveal that black carbon’s heat-trapping capacity is about 1.1 watts, which is second only to Carbon dioxide and substantially greater than estimates made in 2007. However, the role of black carbon in global climate change is very complex. Since black carbon has both warming and cooling effects in the atmosphere, it is difficult to determine the net effect of its emission. Although black carbon quickly washes out of the atmosphere, it can still have effects afterwards on ice by absorbing heat and melting ice and reducing the ice’s ability to reflect sunlight; some of the carbon from the emissions lingers in the atmosphere longer than the soot, and therefore continues to absorb heat. Before the new study that revealed black carbon’s heat-trapping capacity, scientists had already developed technology that could be used to reduce emissions from coal-fired plants and stoves. The new findings that black carbon is second only to carbon dioxide in heat-trapping capacity should encourage people to reduce emissions and utilize the cleaner technology, if they have any concern for global climate change. As a complement to the previous article on health effects of suspended particulate matter, this article presents more convincing evidence to reduce future black carbon emissions by addressing its effect on global climate change.
Toggle Commented Feb 8, 2013 on Worse than we thought.... at Jolly Green General
Regardless of whether or not global climate change and the intensity of natural disasters is highly correlated, I think a tax of this kind is something to be considered. The revenue from this tax would bring in enough money for the government to provide aid to damaged areas as well as reduce carbon emissions, but the specific tax mention in the article seems excessive. In this article, Eduardo Porter states that a similar tax to the ones imposed by other industrialized nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation would bring in “1.6 percent of G.D.P. [which] is $240 billion a year. And $41 per ton amounts to an extra 35 cents a gallon of gas.” Hurricane Sandy inflicted about $65 billion worth of damage, far less than the revenue to be gained by this tax. 35 cents more per gallon of gas is a steep increase for many drivers, and $240 billion outweighs the current need for aid funds. I’m assuming that the other 33 industrialized nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development use these figures because they have done regression analysis or other research and are convinced that carbon emissions may have a time lag-effect, which indicates more aid will be needed in the future as carbon emissions amount and natural disasters become more devastating. If carbon emissions indeed have a time lag-effect on global climate change and it is significant, the tax on emissions will reduce carbon emissions and alter the rate of climate change. I understand the logic of an avid supporter for this tax and I acknowledge the increasing intensity of natural disasters during my lifetime along with the increasing greenhouse gas emissions, but I am not completely convinced it is due to the greenhouse effect and not just a natural cycle our planet experiences. As a resident of New Jersey, I think it is ridiculous that the government is providing such a great amount of aid to the area hit by Hurricane Sandy. Why encourage history to repeat itself? In 2011, a relatively less intensive (damage-wise) Hurricane Irene hit the Jersey Shore, along with Long Island and the rest of the east coast. Financing the reconstruction of an area only to be destroyed again years later is insane. For the government to justify such aid programs in the future, it could consider a tax on emissions as an option. It could use the revenue from a tax on emissions to provide aid to damaged areas, as well as fund more research on the topic.
Despite the failure in the past to address the damage inflicted by the burning of fossil fuels and emission of greenhouse gases on the environment, I think that the best opportunity for the United States to pass legislation that would benefit the environment is now. As Angela Anderson said, “The price tag for dealing with unchecked climate change makes the fiscal cliff look like a crack in the sidewalk.” I am very optimistic that we could see a tax on greenhouse gas emissions in the near future due to presence of the fiscal cliff. By passing legislation to tax greenhouse gas emissions, the government can alleviate the fiscal cliff and simultaneously decrease future greenhouse gas emissions. In Robert H. Frank’s article from our class discussion Wednesday, “The Invisible Hand is Shaking,” Frank addressed the high gas prices in the summer of 2008. He believes the simplest solution to discourage consumption of gas is to tax it. This not only raises government revenue for public services, but also makes the allocation of resources more efficient. These ideas not only hold for gas, but also can be implemented for all greenhouse gas emissions. Frank further states that “By taxing forms of consumption that generate negative side effects, we could not only generate enough revenue to eliminate budget deficits, but also help steer resources toward their most highly valued uses.” Due to the United States’ current economic status as well as the recent evidence of hottest year on record, the best opportunity for action to be taken against greenhouse gas emissions is now.
Toggle Commented Jan 11, 2013 on Rumor has it..... at Jolly Green General
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Jan 11, 2013