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Environmental Issues in Society: Midterm Study Guide

by: Stasi

Environmental Issues in Society: Midterm Study Guide ENST 150

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Complete study guide for the Environmental Issues in Society Midterm, with detailed organization and definitions.
Environmental Issues in Society
Ekaterina Svyatets
Study Guide
Environmental Studies, Midterm Study Guide
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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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