11 global warming uncertainty irreversibility longterm policymaking spring 2002
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11. Global Warming, Uncertainty, Irreversibility & LongTerm Policymaking (SPRING 2002) Larry D. Sanders Dept. of Ag Economics Oklahoma State University INTRODUCTION (ch. 10 Hackett) Purpose:

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11 global warming uncertainty irreversibility longterm policymaking spring 2002

11.Global Warming, Uncertainty, Irreversibility & LongTerm Policymaking(SPRING 2002)

Larry D. Sanders

Dept. of Ag Economics Oklahoma State University

introduction ch 10 hackett
INTRODUCTION (ch. 10 Hackett)
  • Purpose:
    • to become aware of the concept of uncertainty & irreversibility with respect to environmental & natural resource policies
  • Learning Objectives. To understand/become aware of:

1. To understand uncertainty & irreversibility.

2. To become aware of the issue of global warming.

3. To consider the policy options with respect to

possibly irreversible actions/events such as global

warming.

background on concepts
Background on concepts
  • Uncertainty--involves the probability that some event/action will or will not occur
    • precipitation
    • new technology
  • Irreversibility--suggests that some action/event will transform a resource to the extent it cannot be returned to its original state, limiting future options
    • clear-cutting a forest
    • draining a wetland
    • damming a river
risk perceptions may vary w knowledge severity of result whether individual choice
Risk Perceptions: may vary w/knowledge, severity of result, whether individual choice . . .

Unknown Risk

Desire for regulation

Nitrogen

Fertilizers

Nitrites

x

x

x

RadioactiveWaste

x

Pesticides

x

X Global warming

Lead

Paint

x

Caffeine

DDT

Minor

Risk

x

Severe

Risk

Skate-

boarding

x

x

Smoking

x

Nuclear War

Rec.

Boating

x

x

Commercial Flying

x

Handguns

Adapted from Carlson et al. Agricultural & Environmental Resource Economics, 1993; also Sanders

Known Risk

case study global warming background
Case Study: Global Warming--background
  • Greenhouse gases--carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorinated carbons
  • Their function--filter solar energy, limiting infrared energy radiated back in to space
  • Greenhouse effect--as greenhouse gas concentration increases, capturing of infrared energy increases, & temperatures are likely to rise
the importance of greenhouse gases
The Importance of Greenhouse Gases
  • Provides a blanket that “insulates the Earth by trapping heat, a lot like panes of glass in a greenhouse. . . ‘part of what makes the planet of work’.
  • “Without greenhouse gases, the Earth would be much too cold for comfort . . . problem now is that humans are thickening the blanket . . . & . . . nature’s thermostat is nudged up.”

--From cnn.com special section on global warming article “Messing with the thermostat can be devastating”, Miles O’Obrien, November 27, 1997.

the claims about global warming it s real skeptical
Sea level will rise 2-3 feet, covering many islands, changing coast lines & contaminating water supplies

Southern US climate becomes tropical changing ag production

Northern US climate moderates, more like Southern US today

Increase in heat-related deaths/diseases (malaria, dengue fever)

Only 24% of public is concerned

Models under-estimate complex global ecosystem (can’t predict 7 days out, much less years)

Models under-estimate the “technological fix” & market economics

Doubtful that government intervention will do anything but create more immediate problems

The Claims about Global Warming:“It’s Real”“Skeptical”
case study global warming science in conflict
Case Study: Global Warming --Science in Conflict
  • Scientists continue to debate both

1. whether global warming is in fact occurring, &

2. the level of severity of impact

  • Trade-offs:

1. If predictions are true & nothing done to stop it, large-scale changes in global climate that will severely affect the planet & our geo-political-economic system.

2. If predictions are not true but actions are taken to minimize global warming (Kyoto Agreement), wide-scale economic impacts on the US will reduce competitiveness (30-50% increase in fuel & utility bills).

if global warming perceived as market failure
If Global Warming Perceived as Market Failure

S’=MCs

S=MCp

Price

P2

D=MBp=MVp=MWTPp=MBs

P1

Quantity

Q2

Q1

major contributors to greenhouse gases
Major Contributors to Greenhouse Gases

Per Capita Energy

Country Emissions (%) Consumption (mil. Btu)

US 19 335

China 10

Japan 5 171

Brazil 4 33

Germany 4

India 4

UK 2 169

Indonesia 2

Italy 2

issues options with global warming
Issues & Options with Global Warming
  • KEY ISSUES:
    • Time Perspective?
    • Sources?
    • Geography (Trans-national?)
    • Irreversibility?
    • Science?
  • FREE MARKET
  • RESEARCH & EXTENSION
  • REGULATION
  • SUBSIDIES
other sources
Other Sources

http://cnn.com/TECH

(see interactive features; see global warming 101)

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