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Three Faces of Environmental Politics

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Title: Three Faces of Environmental Politics


1
Three Faces of Environmental Politics
  • Science, Ideology, and Office-Holding

2
(No Transcript)
3
I. Controversies in Environmental Politics
  • Are Navy sonar tests worth the environmental
    costs?

4
(No Transcript)
5
I. Controversies in Environmental Politics
  • Are Navy sonar tests worth the environmental
    costs?
  • Should SUVs be held to the same standards as cars?

6
(No Transcript)
7
I. Controversies in Environmental Politics
  • Are Navy sonar tests worth the environmental
    costs?
  • Should SUVs be held to the same standards as
    cars?
  • Will more nuclear power help or harm the
    environment?

8
(No Transcript)
9
I. Controversies in Environmental Politics
  • Are Navy sonar tests worth the environmental
    costs?
  • Should SUVs be held to the same standards as
    cars?
  • Will more nuclear power help or harm the
    environment?
  • Can humans prevent climate change?

10
(No Transcript)
11
I. Controversies in Environmental Politics
  • Are Navy sonar tests worth the environmental
    costs?
  • Should SUVs be held to the same standards as
    cars?
  • Will more nuclear power help or harm the
    environment?
  • Can humans prevent climate change?
  • When should we punish people for harming animals?

12
The Core Problem
  • Real environmental controversies have scientific,
    moral, and political elements
  • But we are
  • Nonscientists who must learn to evaluate science
  • Humans who must find a way to assign value to
    nature
  • Citizens who must evaluate the policies of
    office-holders
  • How can we accomplish this?

13
II. What is Science?
  • This question is not trivial it is a major
    argument on many environmental issues
  • My approach Recount the history and philosophy
    of science in order to discover rules for
  • Separating science from pseudo-science
  • Comparing two scientific theories or explanations

14
A. Ancient Science
  • Plato World of ideas vs. World of senses
  • World of Senses Unreliable Analogy of shadows
    on a wall everything we see is imperfect and
    incomplete in some way.
  • World of Ideas Truth. Only logic can reveal
    the true nature of the world. Idea of perfect
    Forms which are more real than anything we see.

15
2. Aristotelian Science
  1. Rejection of Platonic epistemology Aristotle
    believes that nature is real and must be studied,
    using a deductive method
  2. Rejection of experiment goal is to understand
    what is natural and changing nature is not
    natural
  3. Method Look for categories in nature and deduce
    essence of things.

16
Example 1 Aristotelian Biology
  • Aristotle observes that male sheep, goats and
    pigs have more teeth than females
  • Aristotle argues that men have more vitality than
    women (hotter essence)
  • Aristotle therefore concludes that men have more
    teeth than women, by reason of the abundance of
    heat and blood which is more in men than in
    women
  • Men and women have the same number of teeth (on
    average) Aristotle never bothered to check

17
Example 2 Aristotelian Gravity
  • Earth is the center of the universe
  • Objects made from the earth naturally attempt to
    return there (i.e. fall to the ground)
  • The heavier an object is, the more it desires to
    be in its natural state
  • Objects actually fall at the same rate,
    regardless of mass

18
d. Ptolemy Facts ? models, not the other way
around
  • Example use math to estimate positions of the
    planets, not to describe their real motion.
    Justification many models describe identical
    data (apparent motion of planets)

19
B. The Enlightenment Essentialism Rejected
  1. Rediscovery of ancient texts reveals ancients
    didnt know all the answers (example Ptolemys
    orbits arent accurate)
  2. Belief in progress As economic growth and
    technology advanced, people came to believe that
    we would know more in the future (vs. wisdom of
    the ancients)

20
3. The Copernican Revolution
  1. Heliocentrism Copernicus argued that planets
    revolved around the sun simpler system than
    Ptolemy, but not (initially) better at predicting
    planets positions

21
b. Scientists compare models Cumulative knowledge
  1. Observations undermine idea of heavenly spheres
    Tycho Brahe observes comet passing through
    planetary orbits
  2. Galileo observes phases of Venus (predicted by
    Copernican model but not by Ptolemaic model) and
    moons of Jupiter (not everything revolves around
    Earth)
  3. Kepler discovers that geometry (ellipse)
    describes planetary motion (theory sun/God
    animates the universe)
  4. Newton theorizes that simple mathematical laws of
    gravity might explain Keplers model of planetary
    motion

22
C. Logical Positivism
  • Positivism 19th-Century idea that scientific
    knowledge is the only authentic knowledge.
  • Logical positivism (early 20th century) Only
    statements proven true through logic (deduction)
    or observation (induction) are to be accepted.
    Fact vs. value distinction.
  • Process
  • Induction Prove statements true through
    observation, then
  • Deduction combine these statements to make new
    predictions

23
4. Problems of Logical Positivism
  1. The Inductive Fallacy How many observations
    does it take to confirm a theory?

24
Inductive Fallacy
Will always get fed at 9 AM
Christmas at 9 AM
Fed at 9 AM everyday for the past few months
25
Inductive Fallacy (continued)
  • How many functions (explanations) will perfectly
    explain the data?
  • An infinite number, making dramatically different
    predictions

26
4. Problems of Logical Positivism
  1. The Inductive Fallacy How many observations
    does it take to confirm a theory?
  2. The Demarcation Problem Empirical observation
    and attempts at confirmation dont separate
    science and pseudo-science

27
Who uses empirical methods?
  • Astrologers Mass of horoscopes, biographies,
    star charts

28
Who uses empirical methods?
  • Astrologers Mass of horoscopes, biographies,
    star charts
  • Phrenologists Thousands of skull measurements

29
Who uses empirical methods?
  • Astrologers Mass of horoscopes, biographies,
    star charts
  • Phrenologists Thousands of skull measurements
  • Scientific racists One recent author tabulates
    620 separate studies of average IQ from 100
    different countries with a total sample size of
    813,778 to confirm hypotheses of racial
    differences

30
C. Falsificationism
  1. Karl Popper Stop trying to confirm theories and
    try falsifying them instead
  2. Method Make novel predictions with theory that
    prove the theory false if they fail to occur
    (critical experiments)
  3. Result Scientific theories are never proven
    true. Science consists of conjectures (theories
    which havent failed yet) and refutations (those
    which have failed)

31
4. The Demarcation Problem
  1. Allows us to reject astrology, etc as
    pseudo-science Astrologers rarely make testable
    predictions, and dont give up astrology when
    they fail
  2. Popper argues that Marxism and Freudianism are
    both pseudo-science (example of false
    consciousness in Marxism) enough ifs, ands,
    and buts allow them to explain anything after
    the fact, but predict nothing novel

32
5. Problems of Falsificationism
  1. The ceteris paribus Clause Theories are tested
    all else being equal but it never is.
  2. Virtually all useful scientific theories had
    anomalies when first stated (Copernicus, plate
    tectonics, etc) strict falsificationism is a
    recipe for ignorance
  3. Poppers solution require a replacement theory
    that explains everything the old one did, plus
    something else, before abandoning old theory (may
    mean we retain pseudoscience)

33
D. Social Models of Science
  • Kuhns Paradigm Shifts
  • Idea Science is a social activity that proceeds
    under a paradigm of unquestioned assumptions
    about the world and a set of problems considered
    to be critical (value decision)
  • Every interesting theory has anomalies things
    that seem inconsistent with the theory.
  • Normal science is puzzle-solving unexplained
    anomalies are simply assumed to be unsolved
    puzzles scientists usually suppress novel
    explanations if they can retain their paradigms
    (Tycho Brahe believed in an earth-centered
    universe, plate tectonics was rejected for
    decades, etc)

34
d. Scientific Revolutions
  • When enough anomalies start piling up (especially
    ones that get in the way of practical uses of
    science), new explanations begin to receive a
    hearing
  • At some point, the new explanation becomes the
    expected explanation a new paradigm
  • Note that this is a social process we cannot be
    sure the new paradigm is any better or more
    accurate than the old one. Its justdifferent.

35
2. Lakatos Research Programs
  • Goal Retain idea of falsification while
    acknowledging that scientists do not actually
    reject theories when anomalies are found
  • Objections to Kuhn
  • Kuhn offers no way of comparing paradigms but
    science often looks like it has progressed over
    the past centuries
  • Most fields have multiple paradigms at the same
    time

36
c. The Methodology of Scientific Research Programs
  1. Research programs rely on multiple theories to
    identify problems and solve puzzles
  2. Each scientific research program has a hard
    core of unquestioned assumptions and a
    protective belt of auxiliary hypotheses (i.e.
    attempts to save the program from
    falsification)
  3. Evaluation Look for progressive research
    programs (making new predictions and discoveries)
    and reject degenerative ones (simply adding to
    the protective belt without offering new
    knowledge)

37
Example Neptune
  • Astronomers discovered that the orbit of Uranus
    didnt match Newtons predictions
  • They did NOT give up Newtonian physics
  • They DID add a new item to the protective belt
    something else must be perturbing the orbit of
    Uranus
  • This turned out to be Neptune Progressive change
    to research program
  • What ifno Neptune? Could hypothesize that some
    unobservable force acts only on Uranus ? no new
    predictions degenerative shift

38
d. The Demarcation Problem
  • This was the assigned reading by Lakatos
  • How do we know pseudoscience?
  • It critiques science without offering an
    alternative set of predictions
  • It continually invents new hypotheses that
    explain its previous failures but do NOT make
    new, falsifiable predictions

39
E. Conclusion Standards for Evaluating Science
  • Every model must be tested against another model
  • Simplest model random chance (systematic
    studies of astrology usually show it fails this
    test)
  • It takes a model to beat a model Where an
    existing theory outperforms chance, critics are
    obligated to suggest a better explanation for the
    facts

40
2. What makes one explanation better than another?
  1. Progressive vs. degenerative research programs
    A theory or set of theories that keeps making
    novel, falsifiable predictions beats one that
    keeps adding new assumptions just to explain what
    we already know or generates untestable
    hypotheses
  2. Utility Since we cannot be sure theories are
    True or False (ceteris paribus problem) they need
    to be useful. Preference for parsimonious
    theories using observable variables.

41
III. Ideology
  • Ideology defined A connected set of beliefs
    about what the world should look like
  • Preferences between states of the world
  • Rationality Connected and transitive preferences

42
B. Science vs. Ideology?
  • Science cannot disprove ideology because they
    address different questions!
  • Prediction vs. Prescription Taxes stifle
    growth vs. Taxes should be cut.
  • Ideology adds the should
  • Ideology may cause people to make empirical
    statements (i.e. taxes and growth) but the
    statement is not a necessary part of the ideology

43
3. Styles of argument
  1. Science Hypothesis-testing and theory-comparison
    using data
  2. Ideology The lawyer style Starting with a
    conclusion and building a case from confirming
    evidence
  3. Implication Scientists can also be ideologues
    CO2 increases average temperatures vs. Global
    warming must be stopped

44
C. Activism How ideologues work
  • What do Americans think about the environment?
  • a. The importance of salience relative weight of
    different issues

45
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46
C. Activism How ideologues work
  • What do Americans think about the environment?
  • The importance of salience relative weight of
    different issues
  • General sympathy for environmental movement
    (activists)

47
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48
C. Activism How ideologues work
  • What do Americans think about the environment?
  • The importance of salience relative weight of
    different issues
  • General sympathy for environmental movement
    (activists)
  • Perception of environment as distant problem

49
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50
2. Tactics of environmental activists
  • Raising the salience of the environment
  • Time pressure Argue a brink in the near future
  • Irrevocable damage Argue that environmental
    damage is different from economic damage, i.e.
    cannot be repaired
  • Magnify impacts Argue that environmental damage
    is worse than other problems, i.e. risks human
    extinction or other catastrophe

51
b. Framing the issues
  1. Anti-Environmentalism Since public supports
    environmentalism, activists portray opponents as
    anti-environment
  2. The political use of science Portray opponents
    as ignorant of environmental science

52
3. Is there an anti-environment ideology?
  1. Who hates Earth? Not a serious interest group
  2. Key some people have objectives they value MORE
    than environmental protection
  3. What are those objectives? Not a unified
    ideology National security, economic growth,
    profits, property rights, etc.
  4. Most common adversary of environmental movement
    businesses

53
4. Tactics of business interests
  • General strategies
  • Key be seen as pro-environment
  • Emphasize issues of higher salience (gas prices,
    jobs)
  • Greenwashing
  • Diversionary greenwashing advertise small-scale
    support for environment while inflicting
    large-scale damage

54
This GE ad targets environmental sympathies.
What is the message of the ad?
55
Ford
  • Not mentioned in the ad is they only produce
    20,000 of these cars a year, while continuing to
    produce almost 80,000 F-series trucks per month!

56
Mobil Oil
  • Helping the Earth Breathe Easier campaign
  • Focuses on financial support for environmental
    groups

57
ii. Obfuscatory Greenwashing
  • Goal sell environmentally-destructive activity
    as environmentally-friendly
  • Example They call it pollution. We call it
    life.

58
iii. Defensive Greenwashing
  • Attempts to shift responsibility from activities
    of business to other businesses or consumers
  • Example Ad by Clean Sky Coalition (group of
    natural gas companies) ?
  • Another example Keep America Beautiful was
    founded by corporations threatened by mandatory
    recycling / waste reduction proposals. Their
    most famous ad Crying Indian

59
c. Astroturfing Front groups
  1. Problem People dont believe it when
    corporations defend their business models as good
    for everyone (suspicion of self-interest)
  2. Solution Create groups that appear to be
    composed of scientists, environmentalists,
    economists, workers, etc. Use them as
    mouthpieces for the same arguments.
  3. Distinct from ordinary funding Involves complete
    control over groups message

60
Examples
  • Corporate-owned
  • Clean Skies Coalition (pro-gas) Entirely
    composed of natural gas companies
  • Air Quality Standards Coalition (against
    mandatory emissions controls) Chaired by
    National Association of Manufacturers
  • Sea Lion Defense Fund (against fishing quotas)
    Association of Alaskan fishing companies
  • Extensions of PR/Lobbying Firms
  • Alliance for Better Foods (pro-GMO
    foods/anti-labeling) Run by BSMG Worldwide on
    behalf of clients such as Monsanto
  • National Endangered Species Act Reform Coalition
    (seeks to weaken ESA) Shares a fax number with
    lobbying firm Van Ness Feldman

61
IV. Office-Holding and Politics
  • Politics Defined Who Gets What? or The
    authoritative allocation of resources and
    values.
  • Implication Politics creates winners and losers
  • Key Terms
  • Authority Government has a monopoly on the
    legitimate use of force, so it is the only one
    with the authority to allocate.
  • Resource Allocation Money, labor, and even
    commodities
  • Allocation of Values Deciding between
    incompatible moral or ethical principles

62
B. A model of politics How are resources
authoritatively allocated?
63
C. Agenda-Setting
  • Proposing alternatives to the status quo
  • Status Quo The way things are (the current
    system)
  • How do office-holders view demands made by
    citizens? Assume their perspective for a moment

64
1. Individuals
65
1. Individuals
66
1. Individuals -- Powerless alone
67
2. Unorganized Groups
68
2. Unorganized Groups -- Must be considered, but
cannot set agenda
69
3. Organized interest groups
70
3. Organized interest groups -- Set agenda and
shape citizen response
71
4. Benefits of Organization
a. Credible Commitment -- Conditional support b.
Outreach -- Publicity, Money, Media Access c.
Persuasion -- Information to representatives
72
5. How to Initiate Change in the US
  • Representatives The Elected
  • Use Money, Votes, Publicity
  • Math for politicians
  • Anything Money Anything Else

73
Environmental Group Campaign Cash, 1990-2006
74
Energy / Resources Campaign Contributions,
1990-2006
75
5. How to Initiate Change in the US
  • Representatives The Elected
  • Use Money, Votes, Publicity
  • Math for politicians
  • Anything Money Anything Else
  • b. Bureaucrats Experts and Career Officials
  • Use Information
  • c. Appointees Judges, Cabinet, etc.
  • Indirect Target Appointers
  • Direct Information, Lobbying, or Lawsuits
  • d. ALL Illegal bribes, Influence Peddling (e.g.
    revolving-door lobbying), etc.

76
B. Government Action 1. Legislation
a. Logrolling You scratch my back, Ill scratch
yours
From the early American practice of neighbors
gathering to help clear land by rolling off and
burning felled timber.
77
Example of Logrolling
  • Republicans add ethanol subsidies to 2002 Energy
    bill to attract votes of Democrats from Iowa and
    the Dakotas
  • Several Democratic Senators (including majority
    leader Daschle-SD) vote for the bill, enabling
    its passage

78
B. Government Action 1. Legislation
79
2. Bureaucratic Change
  • Regulation Power delegated to Executive agencies
    by Congress
  • Enforcement of laws
  • 1981 Anne Gorsuch appointed to head
    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). First act
    close enforcement office (to avoid the
    embarassment of overturning popular environmental
    standards)

80
3. Judicial Change
  • a. Judicial Review Power of courts to review
    laws
  • b. Interpretation Court must interpret words
    like navigable waters and pollutant
  • c. Limit Chevron deference (if law is unclear,
    then defer to Executive)

81
C. Citizen Response
  • The Media
  • Ideology Generally economically conservative
    both owners and reporters critical of deficits,
    taxes, wasteful spending, limits on trade and
    immigration, etc. but socially liberal (and
    quite pro-environment)
  • Bias
  • Spin Bias General tendency to sensationalize
    stories for immediate impact. Favors
    catastrophic environmental scenarios over stories
    about incremental damage.
  • Citation Bias Fox (Right), Other Broadcast
    Networks (Left)

82
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83
C. Citizen Response
  • The Media
  • Ideology Generally economically conservative
    both owners and reporters critical of deficits,
    taxes, wasteful spending, limits on trade and
    immigration, etc. but socially liberal (and
    quite pro-environment)
  • Bias
  • Spin Bias General tendency to sensationalize
    stories for immediate impact. Favors
    catastrophic environmental scenarios over stories
    about incremental damage.
  • Citation Bias Fox (Right), Other Broadcast
    Networks (Left)
  • Effect of Bias Remarkably small, due to
    self-selection by voters

84
c. How the media covers science stories
  1. Science reporters know little about science
    they are journalists
  2. Both sides of the story Reports on candy and
    tooth decay must include sugar spokesperson
    Does this create false equivalence, or is it
    necessary for fairness?
  3. No follow-up Media loves new discoveries but
    seldom reports on whether they hold up to
    replication

85
2. How Politicians Manipulate Activists
  1. Lesser of two evils Convince issue group to
    put party ID ahead of issue stance in individual
    races
  2. Janus-Face Politicians say what activists want
    to hear
  3. The Takeover Political activists try to gain
    control of established organizations (Sierra Club
    immigration battle, NRA shifts from sporting to
    gun rights)
  4. Front Groups Can convince activists to oppose
    ones opponent

86
3. Elections The Environmentalist
Office-Holders Dilemma
  1. Environmentalism is popular but seldom affects
    vote choice, despite public support for
    Democratic policies on the issue. Why?
  2. Low salience
  3. Small perceived differences between candidates on
    matters of environmental policy Probably due to
    low information
  4. Environmentalism is weaker than partisan feeling
    Republicans seldom switch votes due to the
    issue, and independents see liitle difference
    between parties.
  5. Economic performance DOES affect vote choice

87
  • Economy

88
4. Behavior
  1. Protest Battle of Seattle, Eco-Terrorism (ELF)
  2. Non-compliance 55 MPH Limit

89
V. Evaluating Environmental Controversies
  • Separate the questions
  • Claims about observable variables
  • Descriptive claims Arguments about the true
    value of a measurable variable, or about its
    direction or rate of change
  • Causal statements Arguments that increases in
    an independent variable will increase or decrease
    a dependent variable.
  • Claims about unobservable variables (i.e. the
    distant future or what might have been)
  • Claims about values (should/ought statements)

90
B. The right methods for the right questions
  • Descriptive or causal statements use scientific
    reasoning (compare theories, choosing for
    progressive research programs over degenerative
    ones)
  • Physical science Use physical scientific
    theories
  • Social science Use models of politics and/or
    economics
  • Unobservable variables Use the best available
    theory on observable variables to predict the
    unobservable ones

91
3. Philosophy and Religion
  • Value claims require moral reasoning
  • Goals of moral philosophy (scholars disagree
    about which ones are important)
  • Consistency Treat morally similar situations
    similarly (the same rules apply to all)
  • Comfort Willingness to accept/follow the
    overall philosophy
  • Utility The system should be usable to quickly
    render moral judgments using available data
  • Value claims have political implications about
    who should get what
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