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GEOG Week 5 Notes

by: jared.stein Notetaker

GEOG Week 5 Notes geog 1972

jared.stein Notetaker


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These are my notes for Week 5 for GEOG 1972 Sections 100 & 200 with Prof. William Travis
Environment-Society Geography
Professor Travis
Class Notes
Environment, Environmental-society
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by jared.stein Notetaker on Sunday October 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to geog 1972 at University of Colorado at Boulder taught by Professor Travis in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Environment-Society Geography in Geography at University of Colorado at Boulder.


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Date Created: 10/02/16
9/20/16 Week 5 Lecture 1: I. New Ecological Paradigm Reading II. 15 “polar” statements A. Exceptionalism: (Ex) 1. (4) Human ingenuity will insure that we do not make the Earth unlivable 2. (9) Despite our special abilities, humans are still subject to the laws of nature 3. (14) Humans will eventually learn enough about how nature works to control it B. Fundamental Notion: Our assessment of nature’s basic operating code: is it inherently forgiving and stable, or unbalanced and inherently unstable. 1. (3) Humans are severely abusing the environment 2. (8) The balance of nature is strong enough to cope with the impacts of modern industrial nations 3. (13) The balance of nature is very delicate and easily upset C. Ecological Paradigm Survey 1. 2. Like any survey, can have problems a. Reliability/Validity b. Analytical bias: mean, mode, distribution c. Majority (class with the most “voters” v. plurality (majority bunched into 1 or 2 classes, more than all other classes combined) d. “Right answer” Effet: We answer how we think society or the interviewer expects us to. e. Does “Pro NEP attitude lead to Pro-environmental” behavior? f. Does NEP predict those behaviors III. Carbon and Trees Case Studies A. Ch 9 p. 142-148 / last lecture B. Ch 10 p. 164-175 / last lecture IV. Kuznets Curve A. Theory 1. (Environmental): based in the theory that income inequality will increase during economic development and decrease after reaching a state of overall affluence, this theory predicts that environmental impacts rise during development, only to fall after an economy matures. 2. 3. At some point, some $ income or per capita wealth, the Kuznets Curve predicts that increasing income leads to a halt in environmental degradation (this is the “state of overall affluence”) B. IPAT 1. Human impact on Earth is a function measured as IPAT 2. Impact = population*affluence*technology a. Population: growth rates have peaked, total peak at estimated at 10b in the next 50-100 year; more urban, older. Urbanization will increase b. Affluence: Economic growth: GDP/Income frew 7x from 1950-2000; avg. per capita income almost doubled: • Changes in food consumption from vegetables to animal products • Changes in energy and materials intensity (unit energy used per unit economic output), intensity declined but total use increased • Socio-political: increase in democracy, international cooperation, community empowerment, but also increase in markets and trade (globalization), reduce role of the state, increase civil society (NGO’s) 3. However, IPAT is more complicated than the equation suggests: a. Kuznets Curve • At a certain point wealth allows for greater environmental protection/ less environmental degradation • Yet increasing wealth (A) is supposed to increase impact (I).. isn’t it? • To a certain point, YES • Then after that point, NO • After that certain point of wealth, societies can develop or afford higher quality equipment. Better technology (T) b. So after a certain wealth point, the more A increases, the more T increases, yet instead of increasing impact it begins to diminish… how? c. Emissions example: • In the US all smokestacks in coal or oil burning power plants are equipped with at least 2 types of scrubbers that clean the Mercury, NOx, SOx and ash particles out of the waste gasses. • On average each costs upwards of $20,000 but reduce pollution • Power plants in China or Malaysia (really any poorer/developing country) don’t, they have higher pollution and lower air quality. d. Farming technology (T) also allows for more food to be made on less land, so less deforestation and less land use. C. Two political-ecological problems with the “U-curve”/Kuznets Model 1. Cumulative effects at global scale, and irreversibility 2. Ecological function declines even with ecosystem recovery. a. Secondary Growth forests are often • Lower in biomass • Less diverse in range of tree species • Less useful to human populations • Very little of the original fauna that depended on old tree cover b. Plantation forests are even further removed from native tree cover; usually only contain a small variety of fast growing trees. 9/22/16 Week 5 Lecture 2: I. Chapter 3 II. How do our Political and economic systems translate into Environment and Society Interactions A. The bet 1. 1970’s Paul Ehrlich was the prominent spokesperson for the population crisis (wrote The Population Bomb) a. Neo-Malthusian b. His book was the cornerstone of thinking and rhetoric for many environmentalists (so he was a pretty big deal, know his name and all this stuff) 2. In 1980 an economist, Julian Simon, challenged Paul to a bet a. Julian Simon believed that human population growth improved living conditions and environmental quality because: • More people means more good ideas • More demand for things (including clean air and water) provides an incentive to find, make, and creatively maintain the world b. Published an article Resources, population, environment: An oversupply of false bad news. Extremely Controversial 3. The men bet $1000 (supposedly) on whether the price of 5 metals would rise or fall. a. Ehrlich and his associates picked 5 metals: • Chrome • Copper • Nickel • Tin • Tungsten b. If prices rose then Ehrlich was right, if prices fell then Simon was right (supposedly, the conditions are pretty stupid and not indicative of actual and/or long term. c. The prices for all 5 commodities fell as new sources and substitutes (like Simon predicte) were discovered. Ehrlich lost the bet. B. The Market Response Model 1. Population-caused fear of scarcity (malthusianism) thought that scarcity set the limits of relationships between society and environment. a. Means society could only go as far as natural resources allowed b. Once natural resources began to run out, that would be the decline of society 2. Market Response Model says that scarcity of resources drives social and environmental interactions, and that The Law of Supply and Demand would inspire human ingenuity to extract resources. a. Means as long as people need stuff there will be firms willing to extract, refine, and/or produce them. b. Law of Supply and Demand will ensure that we never run out of resources • Basically: as the supply of a resource decreases (becomes scarce), prices will rise. • As prices rise, it is more profitable to invest in looking for new resource sources, buying better equipment to extract resources, and/or research substitutes. • Thus, we never really run out of materials for the things we want. c. Oil Example: In 1973-74 OPEC quadrupled the price of oil, went from ~$30/barrel to $120+/barrel • As oil prices rose it became profitable to start drilling in the US again: West Virginia, Ohio, Texas, California, etc. (new source) • Pushes to start drilling in Alaska (new source) • Also profitable to start off-shore oil drilling: California, Gulf of Mexico, Bering Sea (new source) • Considerably more expensive and dangerous than oil derricks on land but worth it • Every once in awhile a storm wipes out a rig or drill breaks. Workers are killed and/or oil is spilled into ocean...but so much money that they don’t care, just keep going • New technology allows for more extraction from existing wells: fracking in California, Colorado, Ohio, and Midwest. (better equipment) • More expensive but worth it because oil sold for more • New technology also allows for new sources: Shale and oil sands (new sources, better equipment) • Way more expensive but worth it because oil sold for more 3. Commodities and Markets Model a. Market forces and technology take care of natural limits b. Externality • The spillover cost or benefit • So, as a power plant releases pollutants, they aren’t responsible for them so someone else pays for them • Taxpayers either pay for an environmental clean-up project/fund Or...worse, • People pay with their lives, breathing in bad air and taking in toxins • Reason for externalities is because there’s no market for them. • In the example ^^ with pollutants, there is no market for pollutants • You can’t package and sell pollutants • So power plant manager has no incentive to keep pollutants from being released. • **Externalities aren’t managed by the market response and must become the focus of the modern environmental problem ** • Regulations to limit release or clean it up • Agreements between public and firms c. Coase Theorem • A these based on neoclassical economics holding that externalities can be most efficiently controlled through contracts and bargaining between parties • Market the exchange of information and utilities (as long as transaction cost isn’t too expensive • Basically says “pollution is not a market good, nobody wants to pay for it but somebody has to, so we’ll split the cost” (only works if there is total market knowledge, cost isn’t too high, and both parties are willing to work together without a mediator) C. Techno-optimism 1. Humans have dominated and can/should shape nature a. A “techno-optimistic” or “cornucopian” view b. Technology and human ingenuity trump natural limits 2. Julian Simon The Ultimate Resource, 1981 a. “Resources are becoming cheaper and more abundant, not scarcer, and over the long term the environment and the human condition grow steadily better, not worse. b. Julian Simon believed that the “Ultimate Resource” was intelligence D. When Markets fail to achieve desirable environment -society interactions 1. Externalities a. Helsinki Protocol to reduce Sulfur emissions in Europe b. Pollution “credits” for countries, limited how much pollution countries could produce, could buy/sell credits c. If an externality cannot be priced, common parties cannot compensate one another in a common tender d. So even win Coasian framework, markets may need some regulation 2. “Market-based policy solutions” a. Some form of government policy imposed, but not overt “command and control” b. Still employs market elements like… • Private ownership • Incentives • Pricing • Trading c. Regulatory Mechanism • Cap and Trade: A market-based system to manage environmental pollutants where a total limit is placed on all emissions in a jurisdiction (state, country, worldwide, etc.) and individual people or firms possess transferable shares of that total, theoretically leading to the most efficient overall system to maintain and reduce pollution levels overall. A needs to reduce by 180 tons B needs to reduce 120 tons A can reduce at $50/tn B can reduce more cheaply at $25/tn • Problems: • How is the cap set? Good or bad science? Good or bad politics? • Tendency towards banking and off-sets (Book Case Study No-net- loss of wetlands) • Geographical equity: what if you live next to the plant that bought the credits to pollute 4. Three Pol-econ problems a. Non-market Goods b. Money and Nature c. The crisis of equity: Turning economic injustice into environmental injustice? III. Chapter 4 IV. Institutions and “The Commons” A. Prisoner’s Dilemma 1. An allegorical description of a game-theoretical situation in which multiple individuals making decisions in pursuit of their own personal interests tend to create collective outcomes that are non-optimal for everyone B. The Tragedy of the Commons


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