Environmental Issues in Society: Midterm Study Guide
Environmental Issues in Society: Midterm Study Guide ENST 150
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This 6 page Study Guide was uploaded by Stasi on Thursday September 22, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to ENST 150 at University of Southern California taught by Ekaterina Svyatets in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 74 views. For similar materials see Environmental Issues in Society in Environmental Studies at University of Southern California.
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Date Created: 09/22/16
Notes by: Anastasia Barbato 1 ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN SOCIETY: MIDTERM STUDY GUIDE 1. Topic 1: Environmental Science, Ethics, and Justice a. Environment the circumstances and conditions that surround an organism or a group of organisms b. Environmental Science the systematic study of the environment and our place in it c. Ecology branch of environmental science that focuses on the abundance and distribution of organisms d. Stakeholders everyone is involved or interested in an environmental issue in one way or another; all have bias i. Financial stakeholders (shareholders, employees, businesses, etc.) ii. Political stakeholders (politicians, lobbyists, etc.) iii. Social stakeholders (general public) iv. Regulatory stakeholders (management of resources, regulatory agencies) e. Environmental Ethics the study of right and wrong in context of valuing the environment and moral responsibility to keep it safe 2. Topic 2: Climate Change & Environmental Treatment a. Climate Change i. A global (security) issue; military bases on the coastline in danger of rising sea levels; tsunamis in Japan release nuclear toxins from destroyed power plants; the Arctic Circle is melting and causing sea levels to rise, which creates more access to the northern seas ii. Why is sea level rise happening? 1. Warmer ocean water expanding; ice loss from polar ice sheets; melting mountain glaciers b. Instrumental vs. Intrinsic Value i. Instrumental Value value of the environment to human society (ex: keeping bears in captivity for human entertainment and economic gain) ii. Intrinsic Value value of the environment in itself/its own right (ex: bears are a valuable step in the environmental food chain) c. Environmental Justice involves the fair and equitable treatment of all people with respect to environmental policy and practice, regardless of their income, race, and ethnicity d. Anthropocentrism vs. Biocentrism i. Anthropocentrism humans are the center of the world; everything should be done in human benefit ii. Biocentrism humans are equally centered with the value of the environment and its organisms iii. Other “centrisms” 1. Ecocentrism evaluates actions in terms of the integrity of the ecological system Notes by: Anastasia Barbato 2 2. Ecofeminism the female/minority perspective needs to be taken into account 3. Topic 3: Externalities and Economics a. Externality the welfare of a person depends on activities under another person’s control, not only on one person’s activities i. Negative (ex: pollution) ii. Positive (ex: planting trees) b. Limitations of CostBenefit Analysis for Environmental Aspects i. Many resources not easily measured in $$ ii. Externalities not included in the price of products c. Ecological impact of climate change i. Loss of biodiversity ii. Extinction a natural event; accelerated by human actions 1. Caused by: loss of habitat, human overconsumption 2. 1 major extinction 65 million years ago killed 75% of organism species 3. Normally slow (background rate); normal rate is 1 every 200 years a. Due to human influence, currently in a period of mass extinction of species (industrialization & rapid population growth) d. Measures of Economic Growth & Development i. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period ii. Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) to measure the economic growth of a country; often considered a replacement of GDP 1. Measures wellbeing of communities 2. Includes the cost of negative effects related to economic activity (cost of crime, ozone depletion, resource depletion, etc.) iii. Ecological Footprint Indicator (EFI) biologically productive area that provides resources and building materials e. Economics of Pricing i. Market Goods straightforward calculations, using price and quantity (natural resources ex: water, groceries, etc.) 1. The value of market goods a. “Revealed” preferences where a researcher studies the market data to reveal people’s preferences b. By providing incentive to get what they want = generating income; value placed on private goods, therefore care for public good only measured by how people generate income to get private goods c. If what a person wants is for the public good = less incentive to generate income b/c income won’t give them what they want Notes by: Anastasia Barbato 3 ii. Nonmarket Goods natural resources that can’t have a price/not easy to price (air, sunshine, beaches, nat’l parks; ecological services, environmental quality; value is inferred) 1. Value of nonmarket goods a. Under certain conditions, how much would you pay for something? (contingent evaluation) b. Contingent Evaluation survey based economic evaluation that determines the price for nonmarket goods c. TravelCost Method the economic revenue and benefits from a natural resource (ex: fee to get into a nat’l park) iii. IPAT Equation 1. Impact = Population x Consumption/per capita x Impact/per unit of consumption 2. Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology 4. Topic 4: Climate Change a. Climate time and space patterns of precipitation, temperature, and wind over several decades i. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) data safe to use to measure temp, CO2, etc. in relation to climate change 1. Probability of outcomes measured based on data ii. How do we study climate? 1. Air bubbles in ice cores, tree rings; measured constantly 2. CO2 provides strong evidence for atmospheric change because it stays in the atmosphere for a very long time b. Causes of Climate Change i. Both natural and anthropogenic; majority of recent climate change attributed to anthropogenic influences ii. Greenhouse Effect caused by increased retention of heat in the atmosphere caused by the increased amounts of CO2 iii. Causes of greater CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere 1. Energy supply, transport 2. Deforestation, agricultural development, landfills 3. Industry and development iv. Facts 1. CO2 level right now: 404.39 ppm 2. CO2 level that is safe: 350 ppm 3. We are supposed to stay below 2 degrees C of global temperature change to avoid catastrophe v. Greenhouse Gas Emissions warming reduces the environment’s absorptive capacity; positive feedback loops created by larger CO2 concentrations and greater climate change 1. Positive Feedback Loop: Notes by: Anastasia Barbato 4 a. Warmer temperatures → Less snow and ice → more sunlight absorbed by land and sea → warmer temps, etc. 2. Widespread warming of the oceans and significant ice loss suggest that global climate change in the past 50 years is NOT mostly naturalcaused vi. Temperature Anomaly a departure from a reference value or longterm average; to calculate, view land & sea surface temperature averages 1. Global scale diagnostic tool that provides a big picture overview of average global temps compared to a reference value 2. Results of anthropogenic changes a. Heat wave risk increase b. Increase in storms and change in wind patterns c. Sea level rise, changes in precipitation vii. Ocean acidification 1. CO2 is dissolved in oceans → forms extra carbonic acid → lowers pH of the ocean water→ harming ocean life 2. Human sanitation → increased levels of methane present in oceans → acidification → harming ocean life c. Consequences of Climate Change i. Health effects 1. Dehydration, heat exhaustion, disease, water insecurity 2. Impacts ecosystems (mating patterns, food supply, habitats, etc.) 3. Extreme weather conditions ii. Economic effects 1. Agribusiness impacted 2. Increase in energy demand and costs 3. Increased vulnerability of infrastructure 4. Increased public health costs 5. Lost revenue from tourism and recreation as ecosystems disappear iii. Solutions 1. Mitigation goal to decrease climate change factors 2. Adaptation goal to minimize/prevent the consequences of climate change by adapting to them and working to decrease their factors d. Policy Solutions i. By reducing demand for certain environmentally harmful goods, the economies of those goods will move toward greater environmental preservation & decrease demand for such goods on the black market 1. Ex: shutting down domestic ivory markets reduces demand and reduces the amount on the black market, preserving elephant and rhino wildlife ii. Economic measures to reduce carbon emissions Notes by: Anastasia Barbato 5 1. Carbon tax tax on carbon emissions of companies 2. Carbon Fee & Dividend not a tax; revenue gathered returns to US households to account for the subsequent rise in oil prices from the money taken from the businesses 3. California Carbon Emissions Targets a. AB32, Global Warming Solutions inc. Renewable Portfolio Standard, emission targets & vehicle standards, low carbon fuel standard (LCFS), Cap & Trade program b. Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) % of renewable energy that needs to be included in energy production c. Cap&Trade government establishes max emissions cap; if the company produces less CO2, they may sell their carbon ‘credits’ to other companies; if the company produces excess CO2, they must purchase extra carbon credits (from auctions or other companies) to accommodate; the cap decreases over the years to gradually reduce overall emissions i. Linked with Quebec through Western Climate Initiative; addition of businesses → creates liquidity, competition, and incentive to continue 4. Cap&Trade details a. Benefits: i. Company can turn pollution cuts into revenue ii. The option to buy allowances gives companies flexibility b. How it works: i. Cap = how many allowances to be circulated ii. Allowances are circulated via auctions & allocations iii. Companies w/a “compliance obligation” are required to acquire allowances to cover their emissions iv. Following each period, companies must “surrender” allowances & carbon offsets to meet the compliance obligation (how the government accounts for credits) v. Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) power sector focused; east coast (9 states); first market based regulatory program 5. Carbon Offsets reduction in emissions made in order to compensate for an emission made elsewhere a. When a company needs to maintain w/in the cap, they invest in environmental protection endeavors & earn carbon credits from renewable actions Notes by: Anastasia Barbato 6 b. Gives financial incentive to take credit for environmental protection & mitigate climate change c. Personal Carbon Offsets i. When a person emits CO2 somehow, then goes to plant trees to offset their personal pollution; no need for credits 6. Carbon Capture a. Capture carbon from emissions & store it underground; also may turned into a solid state b. How do we make sure the storage doesn’t harm the environment?
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