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Callie Deddens
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I found Knetch’s statement about willingness to pay versus willingness to accept to be thought provoking. He takes conclusions about the discrepancy between the two a step further to point out that they can’t be solely attributed to a failure by the CVM because this leaves out a consideration of the human psyche and the perception of losses as being more serious than gains. In his comment, David also discusses this observation and mention sentimentality and nostalgia and I would agree that these are obviously factors that come into play when using this method to construct people’s willingness to pay and willingness to accept. In regards to hypothetical bias mitigation, Whitehead concludes that a range of numbers is better than no number at all. This conclusion is fundamental because it serves as a reminder that it is difficult or perhaps impossible to come up with a single value for the resources being examined, but CVM at least makes it possible to have a ballpark.
To me, the most important takeaway from this article is that it is possible for New York State to meet its energy demands using only renewable resources. Obviously significant costs would be involved in reaching this goal and there will be many in opposition but it is significant to note that such a remarkable change is possible and in an ideal world could be achieved in just over 15 years. While at first that seemed to me to be a long way off, I realized that in terms of climate change it is practically the blink of an eye. I find the results of the study encouraging although that is not to say that I don’t realize the huge obstacles pointed out by others. Other students have commented on the drastic nature of this change. To convert the entirety of the energy usage in New York State to renewable sources is a staggering task. However, it reminded me of Nicholas Stern and his call for quick aggressive action in regard to carbon emission reduction. Paul Krugman dubs this the “climate-policy big bang”. So to those that argue that this is too dramatic a step too quickly, there are others who would say it is precisely the change that needs to happen.
It was interesting to read this article in light of our discussion in class about shale gas. Like Katja, I also would like to know a little more about the facts generated for this article on the benefits from closing the plants. I also would like to know more about the negative economic consequences of this move, such as job loss. It is interesting to see that AEP will be investing in wind and solar power. One of the main takeaways from Schrag’s article on shale gas was that it would take away the incentive for research and development of clean renewable technologies. It is good to see at least one example that this may not be the case. Large corporations can make the shift to natural gas and still focus on other “0 emission” energy sources.
This article reminded me once again of how much we don’t know when it comes to human behavior and environmental effects. It seems that every aspect of human life comes with a large environmental price tag and the story is never simple. In this case, reduction of black coal comes with the reduction of helpful byproducts as well. In that scenario, the marginal damages do not significantly outweigh the marginal abatement costs. However, the unexpectedly positive message is that in some cases black coal emissions can be reduced relatively inexpensively. Nonetheless, it is clear that a great deal more must be learned in order for the whole story to be understood. As others have commented, the wide confidence interval for energy storage is a little staggering. It reminded me of why the public can be quick to scoff at new research that suggests that their behavior should be altered. Like we talked about in class, people are more likely to believe statistics that confirm their beliefs. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people who read this article would prefer to believe that the reality falls on the low end of the spectrum.
Toggle Commented Feb 12, 2013 on Worse than we thought.... at Jolly Green General
The line that stood out to me the most in this article stated, “A tax on energy could single handedly take on climate change.” As most everyone else has noted, this article seems to place a lot of faith in the ability of taxes to ameliorate climate change and also assumes that most natural disasters can be attributed to the rise in temperatures over time. However, I agree with others who think that the tax is a viable solution and one that should be embraced by the United States. I don’t find it that surprising that such a tax is not yet in place however. What politician would promote a new tax? However, this is an example of a time when the general public might not know what is best for them. It seems to me that the inconvenience of driving one’s car less is offset by the benefits of reducing greenhouse emissions. I also found the statistics on money raised by such a tax to be interesting and worth looking into further.
As the leader of our country, it is naturally pleasing that President Obama would bring up vital environmental issues in his inaugural address. However as other people have already commented, I too found Obama’s comments somewhat lacking. In a Spanish class on discourse and power, we have examined the specific language the president used in his speech and how it relates to political goals. One of the only concrete things President Obama mentions in regards to environmental goals is the development of sustainable energy sources. I would wager that many Americans don’t have a clear idea of what this actually means and it certainly doesn’t sound very controversial. If that is Obama’s specific long term goal regarding environmental issues, no wonder a large number of Americans are behind it. My reading of his speech has been changed by my understanding of the relationship between words and objectives and through most of the address he uses rhetoric intended to unify the American public around his specific aspirations. With that in mind, I find the results of the polls unsurprising.
In today’s litigious society, it does not surprise me at all that we should look to the courts to help curb carbon emissions. In the face of scientific evidence it seems impossible that a corporation or country could deny that their actions contribute to climate change and as the article states, courts may soon find that “culpability means liability.” Furthermore, the article points out clearly the fact that numerous political endeavors have been unsuccessful. Whenever a new initiative is undertaken it is met with great fanfare but once the idea loses steam we seem to return to square one. This is illustrated by the failure of mitigation and adaptation attempts. Thus, in order to address climate change the next logical step might be to take the fight to the court systems. However, though I can’t claim to know a lot about legal proceedings it’s obvious that this would be an enormous undertaking. Given the dismal history of cases taken up against corporate polluters I’m not sure that prosecuting whole countries is truly possible. The idea itself is promising but in execution it might fail.
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Jan 15, 2013