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Chapter 2 Environmental Laws, Economics and Ethics

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Title: Chapter 2 Environmental Laws, Economics and Ethics


1
Chapter 2Environmental Laws, Economics and Ethics
2
Overview of Chapter 2
  • Brief US Environmental History
  • US Environmental Legislation
  • Economics and the Environment
  • Environmental Problems in Central and Eastern
    Europe
  • Environmental Ethics, Values and Worldviews

3
Environmental History of the US
1600
1700
1900
1800
Dominated by Frontier Attitude
Establishment of Jamestown, VA
  • 1600s - early 1800s Frontier Attitude
  • Natural Resources (land, timber soil, water)
    seemed inexhaustible
  • Widespread Environmental Destruction

4
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5
Environmental History of US
John James Audobon (1785-1851)
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882)
  • 19th century- US Naturalists voiced concerns
    about natural resources
  • Audubon- painting increased interest in
    environment
  • Thoreau- naturalist author on simplifying life
  • Marsh- wrote Man and Nature

6
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7
Environmental History of US
1875
1900
1850
1875 American Forestry Assoc. Formed
1891 General Revision Act
1890 Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks
Established
  • General Revision Act
  • Gave President Authority to establish forest
    reserves
  • Presidents Harrison, Cleveland, Roosevelt put
    17.4 million hectares into reserve
  • Roosevelt reserved additional 6.5 million
    hectares before signing bill preventing further
    forest reservation

8
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9
Environmental History of US
  • Utilitarian Conservationist
  • Roosevelt
  • Value natural resources for their usefulness
  • Biocentric Preservationist
  • John Muir (founded Sierra Club)
  • Fought for National Parks
  • Protect nature because all life deserves respect

10
Environmental History of US
1925
1950
1900
1935 Creation of Soil Conservation Service
1906 Antiquities Act
1916 National Park Service Created
  • Antiquities Act
  • Allows president to set aside sites of scientific
    or historical importance (monuments)
  • American Dust Bowl (1930s droughts)
  • Basis for Soil Conservation Service
  • Created by Franklin Roosevelt

11
Environmental History of US
1900
1925
1975
1950
Aldo Leopold (1886-1948)
Wallace Stegner (1909-1993)
Rachel Carson (1907-1964)
  • 20th Century Naturalists
  • Leopold- Author (A Sand Country Almanac)
  • Stegner- Author (Wilderness Essay)
  • Carson- Author (Silent Spring)
  • Heightened awareness of DDT and pesticides

12
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13
US Environmental Legislation
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Est. 1970
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • Cornerstone of Environmental Law
  • Requires Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)
    for any proposed federal action
  • Ex highway or dam construction
  • EIS must answer many questions (next slide)
  • Revolutionized environmental protection in US

14
Environmental Impact Statements
15
US Environmental Legislation
  • Numerous laws passed since 1970
  • They address
  • Clean water
  • Clean air
  • Energy conservation
  • Hazardous waste
  • Pesticides
  • Federal regulation of pollution

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18
Effects of Environmental Legislation(According
to EPAs Draft Report on the Environment 2003)
  • Since 1980,
  • 6 air pollutants have dropped by 67
  • Since 1990
  • wet sulfate levels decreased 20-30
  • In 2002
  • 94 of US had healthy drinking water (up from 79
    in 1993)
  • As of 2002
  • 846 of 1498 Superfund Sites are cleaned up
  • Fewer streams violate water standards

19
Economics and the Environment
  • Economics- study of how people use limited
    resources to satisfy unlimited wants
  • Analytical tools include models

20
Precepts to study Economics
  • Economics is utilitarian
  • Goods and services have value that can be
    converted to currency
  • Rational Actor Model
  • Assumes all individuals spend limited resources
    to maximize individual utilities
  • Ideal economy
  • Resources are allocated efficiently

21
Optimum Level of Pollution
  • Optimum Level of Pollution
  • Cost to society of having less pollution is
    offset by benefits to society of activity
    creating pollution
  • Must identify
  • Marginal Cost of Pollution- Cost of small
    additional amount of pollution
  • Marginal Cost of Abatement- Cost of reducing
    small amount of pollution

22
Economic Optimum Level of Pollution
23
Private vs Social Cost of Pollution
24
Strategies for Pollution Control
  • Command and Control Solutions
  • Government agency requires limitations to
    emissions or pollutants
  • Discourages development of low-cost alternatives
  • Economists dislike this
  • Environmental Taxes/ Tradable Permits
  • If taxes are set at correct level private
    marginal cost of pollution social cost of
    pollution
  • Economists like this

25
Effect of Tax on Optimum Pollution
26
Critiques of Environmental Economics
  • Difficult to assess true costs of environmental
    pollution and abatement
  • Impacts of pollution on people and nature is
    uncertain
  • Ecosystem services have no known value
  • Utilitarian economics may not be appropriate
  • Dynamic changes and time are not considered
  • Based only on monetary value what is monetary
    value of clean earth?

27
National Income Accounts
  • Estimates of National Economic Performance and
    used in Politics
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  • Net Domestic Product (NDP)
  • Environment may be overexploited to yield a
    higher GDP in developing countries
  • EPI (Environmental Performance Index)
  • Assesses a countrys commitment to environmental
    and resource management

28
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29
Case Study- Environmental Problems in Eastern
Europe
  • Fall of Communist governments revealed large
    environmental destruction
  • Soil and water poisoned
  • Unidentified leaks in dumping sites
  • Industry with air pollutants causing acid rain
  • Children with chronic asthma, bronchitis, and
    heart problems

30
Case Study- Environmental Problems in Eastern
Europe
  • Meeting industrial quotas took precedence over
    environmental concerns
  • Switch from communism to market economies- need
    to improve environment
  • Will take decades to clean up polluting economics
    of communism
  • Success varies by country- 2012
  • Romania- EPI 88th
  • Czech Republic- EPI 18th

31
Environmental Ethics
  • Field of ethics that considers the moral basis of
    environmental responsibility
  • Western Worldview
  • Human superiority and dominance over nature
  • Deep Ecology Worldview
  • All species have an equal worth to humans
  • Most peoples ethics fall somewhere in between
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