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Jack Citrin
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In order to be a good citizen, I believe that it is important to be knowledgable about the future. This class has taught me that one of the most pressing issues that we face right now is global climate change and that now is the time to take action. The most surprising thing about this global issue is the abundance of evidence that scientists have provided and the lack of willingness to enforce any policies to prevent such disasters. Climate change has become a political debate instead of a concrete fact. Furthermore, this class taught me that the steps we can take will not only lead to a healthier, cleaner environmental but also be economically beneficial. As technology rapidly develops, I think we will see a drastic switch to cleaner forms of energy and I am hopeful for the future.
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2020 on ECON 255 Final Exam at Jolly Green General I read a similar article on the new guidelines regarding air pollution. The EPA said they would be "allowing power plants, factories and other facilities to determine for themselves if they are able to meet legal requirements on reporting air and water pollution." I find it irresponsible for the EPA to give factories this much leeway as these industries no longer have to report on the amount of air pollution they produce. Since COVID-19 is a respiratory illness it seems backwards for the EPA to relax restrictions on air pollution that could harm people with underlying health conditions like asthma. In my opinion air pollution should be regulated more heavily in order to decrease the risk to the population prone to the virus.
The paper titled the Impact of Exposure to Air Pollution on Cognitive Performance points out that the total negative externalities like air pollution are hard to calculate in practice. In China where they have one of the largest reservers of coal in the world, the carbon emissions are so profound that new social costs are continuing to be discovered. Air pollution is a compounding social cost. These costs not only apply to the health of human subjects but also their socioeconomic status. Air pollution causes impairment of cognitive function and therefore the poor suffer from an imbalance of educational learning. Therefore a model representing air pollution would reveal a much larger outward shift of the MSC curve. The trend of more than previously thought social costs continues in the second paper on particulate matter. Inappropriate air regulation monitoring by government agencies has led to the continued exposure of smaller particles proven to be the most dangerous to inhale. They penetrate the lung tissue and cause airway blockages that make the air toxic to the body. The final paper looks specifically at ozone concentration's effect on schoolchildren. The theme is the same in that the social costs are high since ambient ozone concentrations have adverse impacts on exposed children and even worse effects on children with preexisting health conditions such as those with asthma bronchial hyperactivity.
Toggle Commented Mar 11, 2020 on 3 short papers for Friday at Jolly Green General
This article seemed to be based all around inappropriate government intervention. I found it very interesting that the government subsidies actually led to all these environmental problems and other negative externalities such as decline in health status around mining areas. This paper helps to explain how the marginal social costs far outweigh the marginal social benefit of using coal to produce electricity. All aspects of coal mining whether it be mountain top removal, transportation, or combustion lead to severe impacts on the environment and on the surrounding human population. In class we talked about how we have enough coal in the U.S to last decades into the future and provide energy. I wonder at what point the negative effects of coal mining will become so great and obvious that the government quits mining for coal and moves on other alternatives of energy. Furthermore, the United States looks to be making improvements in moving away from coal. One article I read stated that the U.S. cut its share of coal plants to 30% and that the coal industry could be officially retired by 2040. These plants seem to be fearing the threat of large taxes in carbon emissions as a result of global climate change policies. The first step in transitioning to other cleaner energies like solar and wind energy is for the government to stop subsidizing coal industries.
Toggle Commented Mar 6, 2020 on Discussion Paper for Friday at Jolly Green General
I thought that this paper about raising the price of exit fees in Belize to help with conservation efforts was a very interesting dynamic. One specific term that caught my eye was "anchoring bias". In my social psychology class last term, we defined it as when an individual depends on an initial piece of information when making decisions. An example of this phenomenon can include estimating the amount of something. For instance if someone overestimates the amount of balls in a jar, the next person might also do the same. In this paper, it was found that people used the existing price of 3.75 dollars to determine their willingness to pay even though the survey told them that this effect would happen. Who wants to pay more for what they are already getting? I understand that conservation strategies are important. However it is unfortunate that trips to Belize are so costly and that these attached conservation fees further restrict visitors to only people with high incomes. It seems that all recreational activities such as scuba diving will continue to become more exclusive and more costly in the future.
The conservation reconsidered realizes the problem with scarce natural resources and achieving the optimal utilization of these resources. In order to conserve natural resources sets of land are set aside for future use. National Parks aid in providing extensive recreational use with fixed resources. However, the future ways the costs and benefits of this set of land. Should it be used for the actual natural resources on the land or for sight-seeing? The paper points out that the more scarce a resource becomes the higher the price will be for that resource. Innovation and technology are encouraged during times of high price. Furthermore, the paper also points out the divergence between social costs and private costs. In the face of the common good, people often neglect their individual costs as they relate to the whole.
I found it interesting that Coase placed externalities into the cost of the factors of production. In absence of transaction cost and given property rights, disagreements are left up to market agreements between the arguing parties. Many of the examples he gives between competing parties are simplistic (e.g. the farmer and the cattle-rancher, or the doctor and the confectioner) and it is clear that outside interference is unnecessary. However given todays climate of increasing world-wide pollution, it would be hard to find all the parties involved in a given issue and then have them debate who is at fault. Instead government interference would be necessary to solve complicated problems. However, Coase does not argue that government is never necessary. If transaction cost are high, then proper litigation and government enforcement is necessary if the market costs are too high. Coase states that the government can act as a super-firm in lowering overall social costs. In addition, I do agree with Coase that the court system does not always factor in proper economics. However i believe that in today's world courts are less bias than in the 60s. Overall in small scale situations, i believe that simplistic negotiation is proper.
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Jan 16, 2020