The Emergence of Global Environmental Politics. How climate change became a central socioeconomic issue. Take away concepts. What is the “Tragedy of the Commons” and how relevant is it to modern environmental issues? What factors led to the rise of the importance of environmental politics?
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How climate change became a
central socioeconomic issue
What is the “Tragedy of the Commons” and how relevant is it to modern environmental issues?
What factors led to the rise of the importance of environmental politics?
Factors affecting global environmental policy development.
Compare and contrast conventional vs. ecological views of economic activity.
Compare and contrast scientific vs. political motivations.
What is an environmental policy life cycle?
$200 million facility designed to be a self-sustaining life-support system.
3.2 acre enclosed facility, many ecosystems, water and air recycling
Experiment in sustainability and complex systems.
Eight scientists sealed into Bio2 in 1991 - for 2 years.
O2 levels dropped (due to unset concrete), additional O2 pumped in. CO2 levels dangerously high.
Nutrient cycling didn’t work effectively
Tropical birds died after the first freeze.
19 of 25 small mammals became extinct.
Facility overrun by Arizona ant which killed off introduced insects. Insect pollination stopped.
Cost: $200 million for eight people over 2 years:
Garrett Hardin (1968) seminal article:
Ruination of a limited resource when confronted by unlimited access by an expanding population.
Modern reference to Medieval English farmers’ use of pasture “commons”
All farmers have access to enclosed “commons”
Farmers motivated ($) to maximize herd
Population growth coupled to increased resource use leads to overgrazing, erosion, eventual destruction of the commons.
Conclusion: “Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all”.
Common Pool Resources:
How do these apply to Hardin’s premise?
…but natural ecosystems suffered most in communist countries
Privatization, or free enterprise
…doesn’t work efficiently either
“Pasture model” very provocative but not complete:
What are some others?
Costanza et al., 1997
Costanza et al., 1997
The planet provides many goods and services for “free”
Annual cost were we to do it: $33 Trillion
Nearly all of this is outside the market system.
Global GDP (1997): $18 Trillion
Inverse of pastureland problem (putting in, not taking away)
Unit cost of polluting is much less than cost of proper disposal.
Like other “Commons”, problem is compounded by population
The propriety of actions must be evaluated within the context of current conditions
Extend across exclusion boundaries:
Meyers and Worm, 2003
Ostrom et al., 1999
Scientists and policy-makers have very different motivations, time-frames, accountabilities, and languages.
Differing motivations: Inquisitive vs. Adversarial -
Successful resolution of global environmental problems needs the input from both communities.
The problem needs people who can speak with/to both communities.
This is where you come in...
Social movement in the 1960’s
The pollution paradigm
Source: Dr. Paul N. Edwards (Univ. Mich)
Earth Day (1970)
Beginnings of sustained climate science and policy interaction
Limits to Growth (Donella Meadows, 1972)
Supersonic Transport controversy (1970’s)
UN Conference on Human Environment (1972)…Studies on:
1973: Natural climate anomalies
1974: Oil Crisis
US Global Change Research Program
~$2 billion annual budget
Allows administrations to learn more about the problem, potential impacts, and mitigation strategies (but significant US policy action has been deferred)
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Assess the “State of the Art” in climate science
Represents all interested parties
“The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.”
2500 of the world’s leading climate scientists and technical experts contribute reports.
Produce comprehensive and balanced assessments of climate change science, impacts, and adaptation and mitigation options.
Extensive peer-review and governmental review ensures scientific credibility and policy relevance.
four IPCC Reports:
4th AR 2007
Each Report has 3 Working Groups:
Economics and resource availability/quality are linked fundamentally, but how?
But most economic systems do not reflect resource use or ecological degradation
This view has been under attack since the 1960’s
GNP/GDP poor measures of economic and societal health:
Actually including these (and related) costs would fundamentally alter economies
Paradigm shift (1970s-present): Neoclassic Economics --> Sustainable Development
Economic growth cannot proceed at the expense of earth’s natural capital and life-support systems.
The world economy must live off earth’s “interest”
Economic systems should include “costs” of resource use.
“Mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon…”
Not a level playing field, yet states must strive for concensus
Main determinants of policy:
Control & Monitoring
Set of norms, rules, or decision-making procedures which lead to convergence of opinion.
Convention: Legal instrument containing binding obligations
Framework Convention: Establishes the groundrules for cooperation without binding obligations.
Protocols: Establishes more formal, specific obligations.
Non-binding agreement: Soft law, varying degrees of effectiveness (Marine Pollution)
UNCED - AGENDA21. UN Conference on the Environment And Development:
Humanity stands at a defining moment in history. We are confronted with a perpetuation of disparities between and within nations, a worsening of poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy, and the continuing deterioration of the ecosystems on which we depend for our well-being. However, integration of environment and development concerns and greater attention to them will lead to the fulfillment of basic needs, improved living standards for all, better protected and managed ecosystems and a safer, more prosperous future. No nation can achieve this on its own; but together we can - in a global partnership for sustainable development.
US and other developed nations failed to commit resources to support sustainable development. Blocked proposals to change consumption patterns.
Developing countries blocked establishment of norms for forest management.
Many issues had split responses from developed and developing states (e.g. climate change and oil producing (inland vs. coastal) states).
AGENDA21 set into motion progress toward sustainability - first transparent conference.
Environmental issues are now becoming dominant factors in global politics
Prof. Jeff Sachs, Director of Columbia’s Earth Institute
“Mobilizing the sciences and public policy to build a prosperous and sustainable future.”
Some CEI Initiatives:
UN Millennium Development Goals
21st Century Cities
El Nino: Climate and Society
Abrupt Climate Change
Global Roundtable of Climate Change
Masters and Ph.D. programs
Ph.D. and PoS in Sustainable Development