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Jerry Qiu
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Professor Greer's presentation presents a nice introduction to the climate system. I am not an environmental studies major so I find her simplified explanation of some complex issues especially informative. Based on what we talked about on Tuesday, I am interested in the politics of global warming. More specifically, why are there still debates in large media on the validity of global warming when there is a scientific consensus that human activities are warming the climate system? I remember last year reading an article about surveys showing Americans were leading the world in climate denial, there are even schools that have classes showing climate change is a scientific “controversy.” On Thursday I would like to talk about what role should the government and the media play in the politically clouded climate change issue.
Toggle Commented Mar 25, 2015 on Climate Talk at Jolly Green General
I would like to look into the impact of lower gas prices associating with the cost/benefit analysis based on what we've learned recently. In February, the NY Times reported that India (as a gas importer) is paying lower gas prices. It would be interesting to see the cross-national relationship between economic growth and the greenhouse gas emissions of countries with different gas prices.
Toggle Commented Mar 11, 2015 on For Thursday at Jolly Green General
This paper presents an interesting dynamic relationship between the consequences of enforcement and livelihood projects. One point that the paper touched on yet does not offer an explicit explanation is the management issue. Unsupportive local management can be a great limitation towards the development of intervention program. If people do not see the necessity for a change, any attempt to introduce a new, unknown alternative would most likely to fail. Also, Ale raised a good point of reducing adversary between the government and locals with an example of Costa Rica. However, in the case of countries like Tanzania, the lack of financial resources on local and national scales could be another problem for intervention. Especially for local business, setting up a monitoring system is both expensive and has no short term economic benefit. This is also mentioned in the paper. On top of that, this paper does not take the impact (both economic benefits and burdens) on local tourism, probably because it is not studying a tourism-attracting country. However, I do think it is worth studying that how local sustainable tourism markets react to the intervention of MPAs in countries like Barbados and Belize.
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2015 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
This paper is investigates an interesting topic, that is, to measure the “price” of marine diversity in Barbados through finding the foreign scuba divers’ willingness to pay for environmental improvements. The research is well defined and the results in Table 5 are all quite statistically significant. However I do have a few comments on the methodology of this research. First, since Barbados rely heavily on tourism, the size of the data based on the given time span (165 divers in between July 2007 and April 2009) is a bit small. That could be a problem for the regression as it might not reflect the true relationship among variables. Second, the design of the surveys could also results in poor data quality. This research uses a 5-page survey, which I think is on the edge of being too long. Over-long and repetitive surveys usually perform poorly and it is difficult to avoid straight-lining and other undesirable behaviors. For further researches, this paper is based on a somewhat high price for diving (mean: 105.6) so I wonder what the result would be in a country that is cheaper to scuba dive, such as the Philippines (less than $20 for a tank with boat dives), Thailand, or Honduras?
Toggle Commented Jan 28, 2015 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
In Hardin’s paper, it seems that the author offers a critique of overpopulation and calls to abandon “commons in breeding.” Hardin, as well as comments above, both suggest that overpopulation is a moral issue instead of a technical one. He argues that overpopulation has no technical solutions and requires a change in behavior. What interests me in the paper is that he criticizes Adam Smith’s “the invisible hand” theory that individuals are capable of maximizing their own interest. In the paper he also mentions not everyone should have equal rights to the commons. Then how would his idea of “coercion” that is “mutually agreed upon” be exercised in reality? On top of that, Hardin provides no factual evidence at all to support his overly simplified model. In his herder example, he gives a very strong assumption that the herder always wants more “as a rational being.” Besides being rational, the herder’s desire for short-term profit would also have to outweigh his long-term profit. However this is hardly the case in the reality. I think Hardin is not describing farming communities in this example, but instead he is describing the behaviors of capitalist corporations that are purely driven by profits.
Toggle Commented Jan 21, 2015 on Readings for Thursday at Jolly Green General
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Jan 20, 2015