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Owen Brannigan
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I enjoyed reading this article and getting examples of actual plans an actual carbon tax on both domestic and Global CO2 emissions. Beginning with domestic and then moving to the larger issue of taxes and global changes in energy usage was effective guiding me down a possible path to the decrease of carbon emissions worldwide. I liked the way the author structured the paper as well as his clear distinctions between a cap and trade system versus a tax. I agreed with the authors concern that reinvesting the tax into various different sectors could raise an issue in domestic environments. Different people want different things, but I believe that the best way to reinvest money would be to invest it in new clean energy technology. In terms of a global tax the paper proposes to make tax rates across countries relative depending on the countries level of CO2 production. The cap and trade system uses differences in marginal abatement costs across regions and creates a system that integrates efficient domestic allowance trading markets. Both need to be made with the long term in mind and will lose their effectiveness if the periods of commitment are too short. Overall I thought this article gave an informative comparison between cap and trade and tax policies and using both policies or either policy could definitely help reduce global carbon emissions.
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
I would like to focus my blog post on the Harvard Magazine article discussing carbon and climate change. I thought the portion on nuclear energy is worth discussion. Currently there are only 440 nuclear reactors being used and they are producing about 1/6 of the worlds electricity. Schrag suggests that to power the world through nuclear power we would need about 10,000 reactors. In the wake of Chernobyl disaster, he discusses how people are still scared of nuclear energy. I personally echo these feelings. Although I do not know a lot about nuclear power plants, I believe that increases in our dependance on nuclear power and further development of large plants could lead to disastrous effects. In terms of plants exploding as well as the technology falling into the wrong hands, I do not think that expanding nuclear energy usage would be beneficial at the scale Schrag suggests. We need to create a system in which multiple sources of energy are developed and utilized. In this new plan we need to take time to phase out coal, but not destroy the jobs associated with coal, without creating new ones. When I looked at the pictures of how our world would look with a large sea level rise I was shocked. People's homes are already going under water and this map shows some severe changes that would drastically impact the world as a whole. The graph that later shows the progression of coal usage was also incredibly concerning. If the portion of the graph with coal goes beyond the 550 ppm, we will all be in serious trouble. With that being said, the current options are not perfect, but again I want to reiterate my belief that the key to solving this crisis is to attack pollution and carbon emission through a varied assault. They must use a variety of sources for energy as well as create new and more innovative ways to use energy. To do this as Scrhag points out we must work together and demand that the government take action on this serious problem. I believe this will happen soon as impending danger sparks the population to take a stand.
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
I found this reading incredibly alarming. Although I understood that coal had a large environmental impact, I did not realize the incredible impact it had on the lives of surrounding communities. The portion of the article that talked about measuring water health through an analysis of ecological health was specifically interesting to me. I'm currently in an intro biology lab that is focused on tracking the sources of fecal contamination in Woods Creek and we use similar processes to those discussed in the article. The presence of different stream macro invertebrates can signal health or contamination depending on the different composition and function of the various organisms. Although fecal contamination has not drastically damaged biodiversity or general stream health I think its an interesting connection between different contaminants. One thing that I did not connect with in this paper was the actual quantification of cost in terms of dollars. To me $345 billion seems like a lot of money, but I have trouble really getting a grasp of what such a large amount of money really means. I found the connections to actual day to day life and the descriptions of a house and its inhabitants covered in dust and the increase in propensity to disease much more useful to understanding the impacts of the life cycle of coal. With this I also did not realize how large of a process the actual combustion and creation of usable coal was. There are so many steps and processes that I continually asked myself while reading this when the long list of negative impacts would end. Another section of this paper that really stuck out to me was the portion about pregnant women in coal mining areas. Women living in close proximity to mining areas have an estimated 16% increase in odds of having a low weight birth. Low weight birth can lead to poor health in childhood and adolescence as well as poor development into adult years. How are these problems not being readily addressed? What are the reactions from people who live in these areas who are no employed in mining? I would like to do some research into what reactions to increased research on the negative impacts of mining are. Have these people accepted their fate as mining companies destroy their homes, lands, and life? This article was truly shocking, but a really interesting read.
Toggle Commented Mar 9, 2016 on ECON 255 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
The problem of biodiversity is one that cannot be solved without a unanimous effort to place value in the conservation of a wide variety of species and protection of their environments. Rands et al. states that the economic value of protecting the environment could be 10 to 100 times the value of not protecting it. This statistic stuck with me. If there is evidence to support this claim, why are there not more efforts being taken to protect the destruction of biodiveristy throughout the world. I also enjoyed this article because it outlined the things people were doing right when it came to biodiversity and what we could improve on as a whole. I think the question of impoverished people taking a stand in protecting against biodiversity loss is a serious issue that needs to be discussed. It's one of those issues that we are constantly discussing that really doesn't have a direct path or correct solution. It is all on a situational basis, but I think exploring some of the ways the article discussed, such as extra incentives and subsidies is a path the governments of rural impoverished communities should take into account. I thought the discussion of oceans was also significant. Although they account for arguably more biodiversity in the world, they are often not protected as fiercely as terrestrial lands.
Toggle Commented Mar 2, 2016 on ECON 255 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I'd like to talk about Aquaculture. Is it a sustainable way to rehabilitate fish populations? How do fish react when they enter back into their true natural habitat?
Toggle Commented Feb 18, 2016 on ECON 255 and 102 at Jolly Green General
I enjoyed the portion of chapter 15 that touched on the privatization of water in the third world. I would like to know how privatization is working in 2016. Have the problems been solved? Have new problems arisen? I also thought this section was interesting because it reveals one of the problems with economics. The problem of economic theory vs. real world application is evident in this situation.
Toggle Commented Feb 11, 2016 on More Chapters from Kahn at Jolly Green General
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. The reason I took this class is because I think that non-market valuation of environmental resources is something I'd like to pursue and I thought that this report was a great way for me to explore that. I thought that the article was easy to read and that it offered a very good view of the role of biodiversity in keeping recreational SCUBA diving. I find the complexity and depth of these sorts of studies to be incredibly interesting and I'd like to see a study with a more recent study to see how these trends have continued during the common era. It seems that the environmental problems of the current time could make this problem a lot worse. The conclusion followed with what I would have thought as well.
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
As most economic papers I found this paper very dense and repetitive, but I also found the passage on the doctor and the confectioner interesting and thought provoking. Problems such as this one occur everyday and I found this example easy to understand. One question I do have is whether the doctor could have gotten a better deal if he had asked the confectioner to pay him for making the noise or pay to have a wall installed instead of taking the case to court. I think that trade-offs such as these are essential in understanding economic shifts and problems of interaction between businesses and people. The idea of switching the tables in which the confectioner now had control was also interesting and added a twist to this situation I did not previously predict. It played into the idea of a costless environment and I continually thought to myself of the quality of this class as means to explore "it depends" situations. A lot of interactions in economics deal solely with people making trade-offs and allowances for what they want or need. The path to a sustainable environment is to find trade-offs that aid both the environment and the people inhabiting it.
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Jan 27, 2016