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Maddi Boireau
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I am not an economist, I'm not even an econ major but I don't think that taxing CO2 can possibly turn out the way economists and environmentalists hope. Taxing CO2 is going to make the price of energy reflect the true cost but there is no way every country's economy can sustain this. I think that it could very easily make the poor people/countries poorer and the rich people/countries richer, which is not what this world needs. In addition, like the paper said, by taxing CO2 in general, we would be taxing almost all forms of energy. I looked up Jonah's suggestion of Algal Biofuels, which is cool but we would still have to tax that. Those plants have carbon to emit as well. The only energies that would not be taxed would probably be solar energy, hydroenergy,and wind energy. But then again, I'm sure the solar panels themselves would be taxed because they had to be made using energy, that probably came from some coal based source. The wind turbines would have to be brought to locations using fuel. Many would just not be able to afford it. There are too many aspects and no way to execute it smoothly.
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
After starting to read the Harvard Magazine article I started to feel a bit optimistic about where our Earth was going. The talk of nuclear power did not convince my that nuclear power was this way to go, nor did they say it was but it gave me some optimism that we have options other than fossil fuels. When I kept reading, that glimpse of optimism quickly faded. To start, it is quite simply, uncomfortable knowing that "our understanding of glaciers is so bad..." Any time scientists speak of something that could and in this case will greatly affect our near future, we want them to know things. This part of the article basically says they don't. Even if we stop what we are doing now, the CO2 levels in the air will continues to rise. In the article, the author says that, "any other alternative energy source alone" will not solve the problem. There is so much more we need to do. If we did continue on the route of nuclear energy, the amount of money we would need to continue pursuing a safer way to collect it, I believe is basically unattainable. Even if we got our hands on that amount of money, the cost of energy was increase because somehow we would need a monetary return on it. The truth is, there is no realistic replacement for fossil fuels and coal. It would need to be just as cheap and just as easily attainable. This is all before we even talk about nuclear energy still not being a "clean energy source." The nuclear waste, I'm sure I can debate is just as bad as the CO2 coal emits. The best argument I think is like I said before, the fear of not knowing what it will do. Nuclear energy hasn't been around for that long and the waste right now is being buried. It's only a matter of time before something terrible pops up because of it.
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
All ter in my global climate change course, our professor has been saying, "there's no such thing as clean coal." I thought I knew what she meant, especially as we progress through the term. This article has only enhanced what I've learned thus far. From the Introduction I was already taken aback by the facts of coal pollution and especially by the fact that coal usage is continuing to increase after everything that we already know about it and what it does not only to our climate but to our own health. I do somewhat agree with Spencer. This article, kind of made the coal miners out to be the bad-guys in this whole situation. They are really just doing their jobs. As long as we are demanding the coal, they will keep supplying the coal. I'm surprised that as a society we keep demanding so much. Like Spencer said, "the fact that “as levels of mining increase, so do poverty rates and unemployment rates, while educational attainment rates and house hold income decline” is somewhat comforting." However, for me it is comforting to know that it isn't going unnoticed that environmental racism is a noticed phenomenon and as a society we may finally see this problem. The 3% increase in coal usage could easily be in the double digits so maybe eventually we can get to a 0% increase and then start to reduce our usage.
Toggle Commented Mar 9, 2016 on ECON 255 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I found the "Scaling up Success" section the most interesting in this paper. Although it may seem obvious, the authors state that, "protected areas can be an effective tool for conserving biodiversity." It goes on to state that only 12% of the earth's land surface is technically protected. This statistic is incredibly saddening. Initially, I want to say then lets just protect more of the earth's land. In class on Tuesday I kept thinking how we should just privatize everything which will possibly be giving some of this land some value. Many will say there is no hope in succeeding in privatizing the world. I say that maybe, we should start trying. The circulation of CO2 in the atmosphere is almost 500 years. So, even if it takes 500 years at least we'll be working towards making the air cleaner which by way of environmental cycles, will effect biodiversity. Even Rands et al. says that an appreciation of the value of biodiversity is key, so we need to start to assign a global value to it. I wonder what the best way to show society what the benefits of biodiversity are. There has to be one. There has to be a non-scientific way to explain it to the humanities oriented folk and the economically oriented folk and the philosophically oriented folk. So much of today's youth is going to college, these new intellectuals must be able to understand what is going on. I know you (Prof Casey) are vehemently against more suasion but I feel like at some point it may work if we start with educating the new generations on a massive scale.
Toggle Commented Mar 2, 2016 on ECON 255 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
Why do the regulations on fishing work "well" but we cannot put similar regulations on other forms of resources?
Toggle Commented Feb 17, 2016 on ECON 255 and 102 at Jolly Green General
From the first paragraph of the introduction I knew there really wasn't a way to this paper was going to end on a positive note. "The cost of doing business" is a terrible excuse people use to defend the way they make money. Often this cost is something other than monetary, if it were people would care about it a lot more. In this case and many other cases, the cost is environmental degradation. Like Patrick said, the people contributing most to the problem are those whose paycheck relies on the degradation of the environment, not the SCUBA divers that were interviewed in the study. Though this study was very interesting, I'd be curious to see what the people receiving said paychecks would say about these reefs and the price associated with it. Unfortunately, I think this hypothetical study would show more or less the opposite of the results seen in the scuba divers' willingness to pay. The reason is perhaps obvious. There's no connection. It is like when people tell you to think about your great-great grandchildren before driving your hummer one block instead of walking. Trying to guilt someone into doing something using a hypothetical scenario is a set-up for failure. Theoretically using someone's family would work because the blood bond is there but at the end of the day, using a family member who doesn't exist yet is comparable to using a stranger, you still choose yourself and your hummer. What I found most shocking in the paper was that seeing things like sea turtles on their dives increases their desire and willingness to pay to protect the environment. However, the more coral we kill and the warmer the water gets and the increase in acidity of ocean water will decrease the number of turtles thereby decreasing the value of the coral. Here we find yet another cycle that we will probably not be able to get out of.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
In Krutilla's article, he mentions how a market has "kind of" developed in the realm of nature conservancy where Nature Conservancy purchases land that is threatened in order to protect it. He goes on to explain how this market is imperfect and cannot be sustained. I, however don't really see the how this market will never be sustainable. He even says that "the resources used in a manner compatible with preserving the natural environment have no close substitutes." To me this just means that the market is very inelastic. People are either going to use the resources to benefit the environment or use the resources to benefit themselves. Unfortunately, often the two cannot or simply don't overlap. I think, given time, a market could develop surrounding Nature Conservancy. The key word here is 'time,' which is something we don't have. The earth is deteriorating and as cliché as it sounds we need to take some action. The question now is what type of action? I can tell you now that some 20 year old enviro major whose Econ knowledge is solely based on Econ 101 is not the person to figure it out. Maybe thousands of 20 year olds, from many disciplines can but I truly believe there are enough environmental economists and geologists and environmental philosphers in the world right now to do so. We lack urgency. There are not enough people who see that "the quality of the physical environment is deteriorating" at an alarming rate. There are some things we, without being economists, geologists, or philosphers can address one being the main issue explored in Tragedy of the Commons, population growth. Like Cara, one of my first thoughts was China. They were able to control their population rate through government intervention. We see the population in China today and we have to ask ourselves what it would have been had the population rate not reduced by half. Yes, the one-child policy had it's problems including infanticide but it was a case-study. There are problems with every first attempt. I think the problem is entitlement. Even Hardin's article mentions that "we breed with the belief that everyone born has an equal right to the commons." I think this quote can go even farther back where we aren't yet talking about the rights of people being born and the rights they feel to the commons but people simply breed with the belief that we all have the right to produce as much offspring as possible. Theoretically producing offspring is only necessary to keep your species alive and to pass on your genes, we are no longer a species that needs to procreate in numbers to make sure at least one of your offspring stays alive. That thought is simply naive. Hardin said it best, "Freedom to breed will bring ruin to all."
Toggle Commented Jan 21, 2016 on ECON 255 for Friday at Jolly Green General
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Jan 20, 2016