Environment PSC 1003
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kerrigan Unter on Monday October 19, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PSC 1003 at George Washington University taught by Olson, L in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 6 views. For similar materials see Introduction to International Politics in Political Science at George Washington University.
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Date Created: 10/19/15
PSC 1003 Environment The Tragedy of the Commons Garrett Hardin published this theory in the 1960 s arguing that Adam Smith s invisible hand does not work when dealing with a collective good Tells the story of a group of shepherds all rational selfinterested individuals who graze their ock on a common pasture o It is in the individual selfinterest of each shepherd to increase the size of his ock which increases the amount each shepherd takes from the common pasture 0 Over time the pasture will be depleted No shepherd will be willing to pay the additional cost to maintain the pasture though each is taking more Overcoming the Tragedy of the Commons For Hardin collective action is necessary The invisible hand is not sufficient Advocates the creation of an external agency to obligate each shepherd to contribute to the upkeep of the collective good 0 For liberals this is the role international institutions play 0 Hardin also suggests that reducing the size of the group is a more effective way of maintaining a collective good Liberals would point to regional cooperation as an example of this Free riders always remain a challenge Liberals believe the free rider problem can be overcome Realists doubt that it can Emerging Issues in Environmental Politics Libera1s will place the greatest emphasis on these issues since they are interdependency issues linked to globalization and require cooperative action Realists however will also examine these issues 0 Some realists look at how natural resources contribute to con ict 0 Others will argue that statecentric approaches such as cap and trade systems for dealing with climate change are more effective The issues examined will include population natural resources and pollutionclimate change Population In 1798 Thomas Malthus argued that growth of food production was arithmetic while population growth was geometric o Malthus foresaw widespread famine and a natural limit to population arguing that the population would soon outstrip the capacity for food production Contemporary discussions about the carrying capacity of the environment derive in some part from this view Technology would disprove Malthus theory 0 With technological advances growth in food production becomes exponential allowing enough food to be produced to feed the population of the planet Theorists who examine famine generally argue that the problem is not food production rather infrastructure and getting food to those who need it Other theorists however argue food production will become a significant issue in the future particularly since China which is currently selfsufficient is using a good deal of its arable land for industrial development The Demographic Transition In premodem times high birth rates are coupled with high death rates Motivates couples to have many children assuming many of them will die young A population equilibrium is in place In modern times with advances in medicine sanitation and other technologies death rates lower High birth rates are coupled with low death rates leading to population growth In postindustrial economies the society catches up to the lower death rates Now low birth rates are coupled with low death rates The society returns to a population equilibrium Challenges of the Demographic Transition Population is seen as a collective goods issue The developing world is generally in the 2nd stage experiencing population growth 0 Growing populations place strain on the environment and on the state 0 Many of these states have weak or failing governments unable to meet the demand for services 0 In many developing states there is a youth bulge far more younger people than older often without access to jobs and other resources Some theorists argue that a large population of young men in a society increases the likelihood of con ict The developed world in the 3rd stage is facing a graying population 0 Birth rates in Europe are often negative 0 Fewer workers support a generous pension system 0 Interestingly China as a result of its onechild policy is beginning to see the effects of this phenomenon as well Natural Resources Main contemporary debate is over sustainable development 0 This is particularly true between the developing and the developed world Traditional model of development focused on transition from agriculture to heavy industry to services 0 During the industrial stage pollution increases and natural resources are depleted o This model also generally doesn t account for negative externalities which are the costs of a process usually a production process that are not factored into the cost of production Sustainable development seeks to account for negative externalities Sustainable Development One major issue here is that the developed world which developed based on the traditional model argues that the developing world should adopt the sustainable development model 0 Many in the developing world reject this arguing that it will hinder their potential for growth 0 During the 1990 s China rejected this model but is now paying the price in serious environmental damage Advocates of sustainable development argue that alternative sources of energy must be adopted new techniques and new models for growth must be explored 0 Many point to India and the development of the hightech service sector there as a potential avenue that allowed the Indian economy to grow by partially skipping the heavy industry stage of development Peakoil Theory A controversial theory that argues that the world has already used onehalf of available oil resources While this aspect of peakoil theory is debated lessons can arguably be drawn from this idea Oil extraction has become more costly in the sense that deep water drilling and shale oil extraction have become more common 0 These techniques are only profitable when the price of oil is high 0 The developed world was able to benefit from cheap easily available oil 0 States that continue to use oil will pay increasing prices Pollution and Climate Change One of the most challenging issues in the contemporary international system Multiple attempts have been made to address the issue of C02 emissions though they have generally been unsuccessful Pollution as a collective goods problem has been addressed successfully in the past with the Montreal Protocol in 1987 The Montreal Protocol Considered one of the most successful environmental treaties but a number of conditions were in place that contributed to its success 0 The Protocol addressed the problem of ozone depletion which was demonstrably attributed to the use of chloro uorocarbons CFCs In essence a smoking gun existed o The chemical industry had developed an alternative to CFCs o Developed world pledged to assist the developing world in transitioning away from the use of CFCs With these specific conditions in place the Montreal Protocol was successful The Kyoto Accords Passed in 1997 the Kyoto Accords sought to address the problem of greenhouse gas GHG emissions A much broader problem and a much more costly problem to address The Accords called for significant reductions in GHG emissions by 2010 0 Annex I countries the developed world were legally bound to meet the reduction targets 0 Annex 11 countries the developing world were called upon to meet the targets but were not bound to do so Multiple methods were adopted for reducing GHG emissions and punishments for Annex I countries were also incorporated into the Accords Results of the Kyoto Accords By 2010 none of the Annex I countries had met their reduction targets 0 As a region Europe saw reductions but this was based more on poor economic performance in several Eastern European states Western European states in fact increased their emissions The Accords generally called for a radical restructuring of economic systems Many in the developed world argued that they were being economically harmed by the Accords visavis Annex 11 states 0 China was included in Annex II In 1997 Chinese emissions were low before the country began rapidly industrializing Today China is the top emitter of GHGs 0 Led the US to reject the Kyoto Accords arguing that China was given the opportunity to free ride at the expense of the developed world Climate Change Today The Kyoto Accords are generally seen as a failure Greater emphasis is now placed on cap and trade systems 0 Cap and trade systems employ market mechanisms to incentivize reducing GHG emissions 0 Firms that meet targets quickly can profit in the emissions trading market by selling credits to firms that adapt more slowly 0 Nationally these systems have worked in the US in phasing out leaded gasoline and in reducing sulfur dioxide emissions Many states who have examine cap and trade systems have done so nationally or regionally thus reducing the size of the group Regional cap and trade systems are advocated as easier to manage and easier to monitor Assumption here is that an aggregate effect can be created through multiple regional emissions markets
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