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Lecture Outlines Chapter 7 Environment: The Science behind the Stories 4th Edition Withgott/Brennan PowerPoint Presentation
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Lecture Outlines Chapter 7 Environment: The Science behind the Stories 4th Edition Withgott/Brennan

Lecture Outlines Chapter 7 Environment: The Science behind the Stories 4th Edition Withgott/Brennan

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Lecture Outlines Chapter 7 Environment: The Science behind the Stories 4th Edition Withgott/Brennan

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  1. Lecture Outlines Chapter 7 Environment:The Science behind the Stories 4th Edition Withgott/Brennan

  2. This lecture will help you understand: • Environmental policies • Major U.S. environmental laws • Approaches to environmental policy • The environmental policy process • Science and policy • International environmental policy

  3. San Diego and Tijuana • The Tijuana River empties into the Pacific Ocean, carrying millions of gallons of untreated wastewater • San Diego’s waters receive storm water runoff • Beaches are off-limits to swimming • People are pressing policymakers to take action

  4. Environmental policy • Policy = a formal set of general plans and principles to address problems and guide decision making • Public policy = made by governments • Laws, regulations, orders, incentives, and practices • Intended to advance societal welfare • Environmental policy = pertains to human interactions with the environment • Regulates resource use or reduces pollution • To promote human welfare and/or protect resources

  5. Environmental policy and resource use • Science, ethics, and economics help formulate policy • Science = provides information and analysis • Ethics and economics = clarify how society can address problems • Government interacts with citizens, organizations, and the private sector

  6. Policies prevent the tragedy of the commons • Capitalist markets are driven by short-term profit • Not long-term social or environmental stability • Little incentive to minimize impacts • Market failure justifies government intervention • Tragedy of the commons = commonly held resources will become overused and degraded • Best prevented by oversight and regulations • Traditional societies may safeguard against exploitation • Privatization works if property rights are clear • Does not work with air, water, etc.

  7. Environmental policies prevent free riders • Free riders = reducing pollution tempts people to cheat • Avoid sacrifices made by others • They get a “free ride” • Private voluntary efforts are less effective than efforts mandated by public policies • All parties sacrifice equally

  8. Policies address external costs • Environmental policies aim to promote fairness by dealing with external costs • External costs = harmful impacts of market transactions are borne by people not involved in the transaction • Polluter pays principal = polluters cover costs of impacts Environmental policy goals = to protect resources against the tragedy of the commons and to promote equity by eliminating free riders and addressing external costs

  9. Many factors hinder environmental policy • Why are environmental laws challenged, ignored, and rejected by citizens and policymakers? • Environmental policy involves government regulations • Property owners and businesspeople think regulations are inconvenient and cause economic loss • Problems develop gradually and over the long term • Human behavior is geared toward short-term needs • Businesses opt for short-term economic gain • News media have short attention spans • Politicians act out of short-term interest

  10. Framework of U.S. policy • The U.S. has pioneered innovative policies • Role models and influence for other nations • Legislative branch = Congress creates statutory law • Executive branch = enacts or vetoes legislation • Laws are implemented and executed by agencies • Executive orders = specific legal instructions for government agencies • Judicial branch = interprets laws • Precedents = guides for later cases • Lawsuits are filed for and against protection

  11. The “fourth branch” of government • Administrative agencies = the “fourth branch” • Established by the president or Congress • A source of policy through regulations • Monitor and enforce compliance • Regulations = specific rules or requirements to achieve objectives of broadly written statutory laws

  12. State and local governmental policies • States, counties, and municipalities also generate environmental policies • They can experiment with novel concepts • California, New York, and Massachusetts have strong environmental laws • Well-funded agencies • Citizens value protecting the environment • State laws cannot violate principles of the U.S. Constitution • If laws conflict, federal laws take precedence

  13. State and local agency involvement California state and local agencies help regulate the impact of the International Wastewater Treatment Plant

  14. Federal policymakers influence states • Rarely, federal laws may force states to change • Federal policymakers can give financial incentives to encourage change (this works, if funds are adequate) • “Cooperative federalism” = an agency works with state agencies to achieve national standards • Despite pressure to weaken laws, federal control is vital to protect all citizens • One national effort is more efficient than 50 efforts • Transboundary disputes are minimized

  15. Constitutional amendments • Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution • Prohibits denying “equal protection of its laws” • The constitutional basis for environmental justice • Fifth Amendment = takings clause • Bans the literal taking of private property • Also bans regulatory taking, which deprives a property owner of economic uses of the property • There is a sensitive balance between private rights and the public good

  16. Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council • In 1992 the Supreme Court ruled that a state law intending to prevent serious public harm violated the takings clause • Lucas, a land developer, was allowed to build homes on beachfront property • Although a state agency had prohibited construction on the property

  17. Early U.S. environmental policy • From 1780s to the late 1800s, promoted settlement and extraction of resources • General Land Ordinances of 1785 and 1787 • The federal government managed unsettled lands • Surveying and readying them for sale • Increased prosperity for citizens and railroad companies • Relieved crowding in Eastern cities • Displaced millions of Native Americans • People believed land was infinite and inexhaustible

  18. Typical laws of the 1780s–late 1800s Homestead Act (1862) = anyone could buy or settle on 160 acres of public land

  19. Typical laws of the 1780s–late 1800s General Mining Act (1878) = people could mine on public land for $5/acre with no government oversight

  20. Typical laws of the 1780s–late 1800s Timber Culture Act (1873) = 160 acres to anyone promising to plant trees on 25% of that land

  21. The second wave of U.S. policy • Public perception and government policy shifted • Mitigated problems caused by westward expansion • Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park, opened in 1872 • Also, national wildlife refuges, parks, and forests • Understood that the West’s resources were exhaustible • They required legal protection • Land management policies addressed soil conservation • The 1964 Wilderness Act preserves pristine land

  22. The third wave of U.S. environmental policy • Mid-to late-20th century people were better off economically • But lived with dirtier air, dirtier water, and more waste and toxic chemicals • Increased awareness of environmental problems shifted public priorities and policies Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) described the ecological and health effects of pesticides and chemicals

  23. Modern U.S. environmental policy • The Cuyahoga River was so polluted that it caught fire in the 1950s and 1960s • The public demanded more environmental protection

  24. Modern U.S. environmental policy • Most Americans support environmental protection • Millions of people celebrate Earth Day each April

  25. The National Environmental Policy Act (1970) • NEPA began the modern era of environmental policy • Created the Council on Environmental Quality • Requires an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for any federal action that might significantly impact the environment • It forces the government and businesses to evaluate the environmental impacts of a project • Its cost-benefit approach usually does not halt projects • It provides incentives to decrease damage • Citizens are granted input into the policy process

  26. The EPA shifts environmental policy • President Nixon’s executive order created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) • Conducts and evaluates research • Monitors environmental quality • Sets and enforces standards for pollution levels • Assists states in meeting standards and goals • Educates the public • The EPA is a leading agency in developing solutions to pollution

  27. Significant environmental laws • The public demanded a cleaner environment and supported tougher environmental legislation

  28. Why did environmental policy change? • Several factors converged to allow major advances in environmental policy in the 1960s and 1970s • Wide evidence of environmental problems • People could visualize policies to deal with problems • The political climate was ripe, with a supportive public and leaders who were willing to act • Congress strengthened and elaborated laws in the 1980s • Amendments to the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts

  29. Many reacted against regulation • By 1990, many felt that regulations were too strict • Attempts were made to weaken federal laws by Reagan, George W. Bush, and the Republican-controlled Congresses from 1994 to 2006 • “The Death of Environmentalism” (1994) = the environmental movement had to be reinvented • It must appeal to core values with an inspiring vision • Show that these problems affect our quality of life • President Obama’s election and a Democratic majority in Congress brought optimism back to environmentalists

  30. Current environmental policy • Other nations have increased attention to issues • The 1992 Earth Summit • The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development • This fourth wave of policy focuses on sustainability • Safeguarding ecosystems while raising living standards Climate change dominates much discussion on environmental policy

  31. Three major types of policy approaches

  32. Conflicts can be addressed in court • Before legislation, lawsuits addressed U.S. policy issues • Tort law = deals with one entity harming another • Nuisance law = individuals suffering from pollution would seek redress through lawsuits • Courts make polluters stop through injunctions or fines • But justices were reluctant to hinder industry • In Boomer v. Atlantic Cement Company, the company had to pay people for damages but could still operate • The market decides between right and wrong • This is not a viable option to prevent pollution

  33. Approaches to environmental policy • Command-and-control approach: a regulating agency sets rules or limits • Threatening punishment for violators • It brings cleaner air, water, safer workplaces, etc. • Government actions may be well-intentioned • But not well-informed • Interest groups—people seeking private gain—unduly influence politicians and work against public interests • Citizens may view policies as restrictions on freedom • Those policies will not remain in force

  34. Green taxes discourage undesirable activities • Other approaches use innovation and efficiency to benefit the public • Aim to internalize external costs • Taxes discourage undesirable activities • Green taxes = tax environmentally harmful activities • Businesses reimburse the public for damage they cause • The more pollution, the higher the tax payment • Give companies financial incentives to reduce pollution with freedom to decide how to do so • But costs are passed on to consumers

  35. Subsidies promote certain activities • Subsidy = a government giveaway of cash or resources to encourage a particular activity • Tax break = helps an entity by relieving its tax burden • They have been used to support unsustainable activities • Nations give $1.45 trillion/year in harmful subsidies From 2002 to 2008, U.S. fossil fuel companies received $72 billion of taxpayer money, while renewable energy received only $29 billion

  36. Environmentally harmful subsidies • The General Mining Act of 1872 • Mining companies get $500 million–$1 billion in minerals from U.S. public lands each year • But they don’t pay a penny in royalties to taxpayers • The government has given away $250 billion in mineral resources • Mining activities have polluted 40% of Western watersheds • The U.S. Forest Service spends $35 million of taxpayer money/year building roads for logging companies • Companies sell the trees for profit

  37. Harnessing market dynamics • Governments use financial incentives in direct and selective ways • Subsidies and green taxes • Financial incentives and market dynamics can also help in obtaining policy goals • Ecolabeling = sellers advertise that they use sustainable practices • Businesses win consumer confidence and outcompete less sustainably produced brands

  38. Permit trading saves money • Permit trading = a government-created market in permits for an environmentally harmful activity • Businesses buy, sell, trade these permits • Cap-and-trade emissions trading system = the government sets pollution levels (“caps”) and issues permits • Polluters can buy, sell, and trade these permits • Pollution is reduced overall, but does increase around polluting plants • Companies have an economic incentive to reduce emissions

  39. Cap-and-trade and air pollution • A cap-and-trade system in the U.S. mandates lower sulfur dioxide emissions • Emissions have decreased by 43% • Cuts were obtained cheaper and more efficiently than command-and-control regulation • With no effects on supply or economic growth • Benefits outweigh costs 40 to 1 • Markets in carbon emissions are sprouting up

  40. Market incentives work at the local level • Municipalities charge residents for waste disposal, according to the amount of waste generated • Cities tax disposal of costly items (tires, motor oil) • Some cities give rebates for buying water-efficient appliances • Power utilities give discounts to those buying efficient lightbulbs and appliances • Well-planned market incentives can reduce environmental impact while minimizing costs to industry • Easing concerns about government intrusion

  41. Public-private partnerships • Public-private partnership = a for-profit entity does the work • A private entity acts as overseer • Public policy goals will be achieved in a timely, cost-effective manner • Private entities try to maximize efficiency • It is challenging to design workable partnerships while serving both private and public interests

  42. Seven steps to making environmental policy • Creating environmental policy has several steps • Requires initiative, dedication, and the support of many people

  43. Step 1: Identify a problem • This requires curiosity, observation, record keeping, and an awareness of our relationship with the environment.

  44. Step 2: Pinpoint causes of the problem • Involves scientific research • Risk assessment = judging risks a problem poses to health or the environment

  45. Step 3: Envision a solution • Risk management = developing strategies to minimize risk • Involves social or political action

  46. Step 4: Get organized • Organizations are more effective than individuals • But a motivated, informed individual can also succeed

  47. Step 5: Cultivate access and influence • Lobbying = spending time and money to influence a politician • Environmental advocates are not the most influential lobbyists

  48. Who influences the policy process? • Political Action Committees (PACs) = raise money for political campaigns • Corporations and industries can not make direct campaign contributions • So they establish PACs to help candidates win • A 2010 Supreme Court decision allows corporations and unions to buy ads for or against candidates • The revolving door = movement of people between the private sector and government • Intimate knowledge of an issue or conflict of interest?

  49. Step 6: Shepherd the solution into law • Prepare a bill, or draft law, containing solutions • Find members of the House and Senate to introduce the bill and shepherd it through committees • The bill may become law or die in various ways

  50. Step 6: Shepherd the solution into law