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ailyn kelly
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I had never contemplated the effect of climate change on global development or poverty, and after reading Turn Down the Heat I'm astounded by the effect that a change in global temperature has on the global community. What caught my attention was the sentence, "Inside and outside of conference halls, global leaders will need to take difficult decisions that will require, in some instances, short term sacrifices but ultimately lead to long term gains." This quote to me sums up the issues surrounding global politics. Most politicians know that immediate action needs to be taking when dealing with the current environmental crisis, these issues are definitively outlines in the Case for Immediate Action and throughout the Executive Summary. However, many politicians cease to act because of fear over the short term impacted, meaning the possibility of loosing re-election. My issue with governments approach to global climate and environmental change, is that they seem to be concerned with the present consequences rather than future gains.
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2017 on ECON 255 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I found both of these articles to be extremely engaging, especially the paper by Maury and Rivers. Before reading these articles I didn't quite understand the full extent or structure of the British Columbia Carbon tax. Maury and Rivers make a strong case for the benefits of carbon tax, but what interested me the most about their article was the "revenue-neutrality" component of the BC Carbon tax. I had never really contemplated or concerned myself with where and to what the revenue of the carbon tax would be allocated to, nor the effects of these allocations. The "Tracking Global Carbon Revenues" article helped give a perspective on how these revenues could potentially be distributed. After reading both of these articles I found that the answer of redistribution is not as clear-cut as one may think, but is probably the most important part of the carbon tax itself. How a government allocates revenue from either cap and trade or carbon tax has political and economical effects. My main concern or only hesitation to the carbon tax, is that I'm still not completely convinced that the implementation of the tax would add little burden to low-income citizens. I think this is still a major concern to most citizens, causing the implementation of the tax to be difficult.
Toggle Commented Mar 23, 2017 on Econ 255 readings - update at Jolly Green General
I was unprepared and pleasantly surprised to read about the overwhelmingly positive impacts of "fracking" not only on the U.S economy but on the global environment. Before reading The Economics of Shale Gas Development, I associated “fracking” heavily with negative impacts, basing my opinion on a limited understanding of the practice and on an overwhelming negative perception surrounding the process. I found that this article effectively outlined both the positive and negative externalities associated with the process, and after finishing the article I felt that the authors outlined both sides of fracturing fairly well. To me hydraulic fracturing seems, at this point, to be a better or more energy efficient alternative to coal. Like others above, I think that hydraulic fracturing is an important development in energy efficiency but with limited knowledge surrounding the negative effects, it’s hard to predict what problems or issues could arise in the future.
Before reading this article I had no background knowledge on the subject of Mountaintop removal and certainly didn’t realize the prevalence of MTR in the United States. The costs of MTR and the damages inflicted upon surrounding communities shocked me, especially when learning that most states expenditures on coal exceed revenue. In the case of Kentucky, coal produces around 528 million in revenues while its expenditures total 643 million. What amazed me after reading this section was that the 115 million net loss accrued by Kentucky didn’t include social expenditures or damages associated with coal mining. It seems that the effects, damages, and costs of coal production and extraction severely outweigh any benefits causing me to wonder why coal remains a major energy source. The fact that the global community still heavily depends on such an inefficient energy source shows our reliance on coal and a lack of substitutes.
As many others have pointed out I was surprised to read that many of the citizens of Tobago don’t see the Buccoo Reef as “integral to their livelihood.” It amazed me that a country, which depends heavily on tourism especially “nature based tourism” as a source of income, could understand so little about the influence of the Buccoo Reef and other natural resources. It also astounded me the lack of awareness around the “social development potential” of the Buccoo Reef. The author does a wonderful job showing that the absence of information surrounds the degradation of the Buccoo Reef and other natural resources. I agree with the author’s argument for “a greater role for public education” but I believe that the enhancement of communities’ involvement will ultimately drive conservation of the reefs. Education can help diminish the “knowledge gap” but at the end of the day the people of Tobago have to act upon this knowledge and view the protection of natural resources as economically beneficial. By increasing the community involvement, more citizens expose themselves to the management of natural resources and create a stronger link between the government and people.
This article highlights the importance of using non-market valuation techniques when “monetizing” and evaluating natural resources. These techniques help provide an accurate estimate of economic value, since natural resources are normally under-valued in policy decisions. Originally I believed that the evaluation of most natural resource involved non-market techniques. However the authors state, “Despite the depth and breadth of the associated literature on NMV, it has not been applied to the majority of natural assets and the literature often provides inadequate support for policy formation.” After finishing the article it became apparent to me, and to many of my classmates, that the application of choice models and non-market valuation techniques would be hard to manage and execute on a larger scale. The experiment in Barbados successfully demonstrated the benefits of using choice models, but can we feasible and accurately apply this model to other large scaled resources? Benefits of using non-market valuation techniques to help value resources in policy decisions are unquestionable. The challenge now faced by economist is how to transfer successful small-scaled models and experiments to broader natural assets.
In regards to the formation of demand, Krutilla writes, "When we consider the remote backcountry landscape, or the wilderness scene as the object of experience and enjoyment, we recognize that utility from the experience depends predominantly upon the prior acquisition of technical skill and specialized knowledge." I found myself gravitated to this statement and the proceeding paragraph where he examines how specific knowledge and skills derives from ones exposure to certain activities like car camping or canoeing. He believes that future generations then build upon these actions producing “back-packers” or “cross country skiers”. The introduction of these individuals into the market causes an increase in the demand for “wilderness-related” opportunities. Krutilla’s formation of demand highlights the issue of “absence of knowledge” and how this causes an imperfect market. Originally I believed the absence of knowledge centered on people being misinformed or ignorant. However, Krutilla’s statement made me realize that absence of knowledge surrounding natural resources can also be due to lack of experience. I realized my knowledge about the demand for “wilderness-related opportunities” was imperfect not because of misinformation but because of limited experiences. in this market I wouldn’t understand the certain aspects that make a forest, hiking trail, or campsite valuable to certain individuals.