America's Environmental Economics

by: Alec Risch, Adam Naylor, and Alicia Loughry

Caribou pass by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Monitoring and Diagnostic Lab in Barrow, Alaska, Friday, Feb. 8, 2002. Scientists have unveiled a $35 million plan to study Arctic warming and its potential global impact over the next five years, focusing on recent climate changes that have affected the land, sea and air in the far north. According to NOAA, warmer winter temperatures are causing the ice in Barrow _ North America's northernmost city _ to melt two weeks earlier in the spring. (AP Photo/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Daniel Endres)

Executive Summary/Abstract:

    What is environmental health worth to you?  What is environmental health worth to America?  What is environmental health worth to the human population of planet Earth?  There are many people who would say a healthy planet is priceless.  For each one who answers like that, there will no doubt be another who would say the environment has a finite value.  Since the 1980's the United States has been considering the economic impacts of environmental regulation.

This undated handout combination photo shows two images that represent new research based on NASA satellite data and a multi-national field experiment that shows black carbon pollution produced by humans can impact global climate. The image at left, taken from space, shows the absorption of the black carbon aerosols in the atmosphere. Red pixels indicate the highest levels of absorption, blues are low. The image on the right shows that the aerosol particles reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface. Dark pixels show where the particles exert their cooling influence on the surface most. (AP Photo/NASA/GSFC Science Visualization Studio, Tom Bridgman)

Introduction:

    Global climate change in the 21st century has become a pervasive political issue.  The question is, how should the problem be addressed?  The advent of the environmental movement in the United States first focused primarily on environmental regulations, disregarding the impact they might have on political and economic systems.  We've taken up the task of determining how to integrate economic analysis with environmental regulation.  We believe that exploring the economics of environmental decision making is as important as addressing solely the science of global warming.  It is our understanding that, by tossing global climate change issues into the political arena, we have drawn interest from parties outside the scientific realm.
    In our project we hope to bring the worlds of science and economics together.  Standing face to face, they may be able to solve the problems of collective interest.  We intend to discuss and analyze data presented by environmentalists and economic interests alike.  Based on our preliminary knowledge of the subject, we believe the opposing sides use science as rhetoric in their political schemes.  It is our hope that we may wade through the data, and come out with some truth.  We would also like to determine who is more convincing, industry or envirionment.
    We will ask those who receive the final political products what they believe should be done about some of the global climate change issues.  It is our hypothesis that most people stand along political party lines when it comes to deciding on environmental issues.  It's possible the same goes for economic issues.  So, in evaluating others' data and our own, we may see who is winning this political battle: Industry or Environment.

Dutch Environment Minister Jan Pronk is presented with a lifebuoy by environmental activist urging delegations from over 100 nations to rescue a global climate agreement which was renounced by the United States, during a demonstration in the beach resort of Scheveningen, near The Hague. Wednesday June 27, 2001. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Relevance of the Research Question:

    The economics of global climate change will play a role in the formation of policy and ultimately will have an impact in the way that human beings view and interact with the environment. When we discuss global warming there are three questions which are impossible to avoid: Is it happening? How fast is it happening? And what should we do about it? The economic impacts both of global warming and of environmental regulation meant to curtail global warming are factors which are of dire consequence.

    In our preliminary research we discovered that, at first, economics played no role in early environmental policy making. Neither the Clean Air Act, nor the Clean Water Act of the late sixties accounted for the economic impacts of the imposed regulations.(Portney) It was not until the 1980's that policy makers asked for inputs from economists whose influence has since grown immensely. At this point in time, corporations involved in lobbying for or against environmental regulations often cite economic reports in order to influence politicians' decisions. Even the federal government asks for input from economic experts when considering policy changes. The National Center for Environmental Economics conducts research and economic analyses of environmental regulations, but E.P.A. policy is made independently of the reports. The U.S. E.P.A. has been asked, recently, by the Bush administration to work in conjunction with the Department of Energy.

    There are problems in trying to compare the cost of jobs to the the cost of the environment. Inherently there is something difficult in weighing qualitative versus quantitave. Part of the problem is how do you value a tree. Is its value part of it being the natural environment? Does it have value becuase it provides oxygen? Would it have any value if it only provided beauty and no oxygen. Part of the problem also comes in weighing the economic benefits of not taking actions now versus the economic and environmental costs twnety years to over a century in the future. And who knows, in that time, perhaps that company will not still be in business or a new technology may come along that can take care of the problem at almost no cost. In the introduction to newer editions of Silent Spring, Al Gore states "We have banned certain pesticides at home, but we still produce them and export them to other countries. This not only involves a readiness to profit by selling others a hazard we will not accept for ourselves; it also reflects an elemental failure to comprehend that the laws of science do not observe the boundaries of politics. Poisoning the food chain anywhere ultimatily poisons the food chain everywhere" (Gore xx). This same readiness to profit is apparently also seen in the energy corporations. But perhaps we should not look so harshly at these corporations. As "Environmental threats are the product not only of population growth and of ignorant or careless individual actions; they are deeply embedded in our religious, cultural, economic, and social system" (Vig 5). If Americans car-pooled as well as generally cut back on how much they drove their automobiles there would be a significant reduction of pollution. "Most people in the affluent societies live in a kind of schizophrenic or 'double-think' state. They are aware of the disasters of Bhopal and Chernobyl, of the 'greenhouse' effect, the destruction of the ozone layer, the gradual poisoning of ground-water, rivers and seas by fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, as well as industrial waste, and that they themselves increasingly suffer the effects of air pollution, allergies, stress and noise, and the health risks due to industrially produced food. They also know that responsibility for these negative impacts on their quality of life lies in their own lifestyles, and an economic system based on constant growth. And yet, (except for very few) they fail to act on this knowledge by modifiying their lifestyles...most people expect science and technology to provide a solution to these dilemmas, rather than taking steps to limit their own consumptionand production patterns" (Mies 500).
 
 


This picture was obtained from cnn.com.


    That Americans can have their cake and eat it too seems to be supported by the Bush administration. An undertone of this view can be seen in President Bush's statement, "America must have an energy policy that plans for the future, but meets the needs of today. I believe we can develop our national resources and protect our environemnt" (National Energy Policy Development Group 2).

This picture of refineries is from The WorldWatch Institute
This picture of refineries was obtained from the WorldWatch Institute.

    This may be possible, but it seems unlikely. Understandibly so, corporations want to maximize their profits. Therefore they want to spend as little money as possible on things that will cost them money, even if it may help the environment. "Private industry in the United States has strongly opposed domestic or international controls on greenhouse gas emissions. In 1993, when Clinton proposed his BTU tax, the coal, petroleum, and public utilities industries mounted a strong resistance. Organized industry opposition prior to the Kyoto conference in 1997 took the form of a $13 million ad campaign sponsored by private energy-linked companies...the leading corporate voice against a strong policy on this occasion was the Global Climage Change Coalition, a consortium of coal, oil, and automobile companies and utilities" (Paarlberg 246). This ad campaign was thought to have influence in Congress.
    "The Global Climate Change Coalition released a study late in 1997 purporting to show that cumulative losses to the U.S. economy from a climate treaty could amount to $30,000 by each American household in the years 2000-2020. The Center for Energy and Economic Development, a group with a $4 million annual budget sponsored by the coal industry, targeted business and civic groups in eleven states with a similiar message" (Paarlberg 246). Prompted by the conference in Kyoto, "In April 1998 representatives of large oil compianies, trade associations, and conservative policy research organizations, working through the Washington offices of the American Petroleum Institute, drafted a plan to spend $5 million over the next two years to maximize the impact of scientific views consistent with ours'--in other words, views skeptical of the idea of human-induced climate change" (Paarlberg 246). "On climate change policy, however, labor opposition has become a significant factor; the potentially vulnerable United Mine Workers spent $1.5 million in 1996 and 1997 to block a strong treaty. Other labor groups fear that substantially higher fuel costs due to climate change policy would slow economic growth and harm wokers. Private estimates tend to bear out these fears. Immediately following the Kyoto summit, Yale economist William Nordhaus estimated that reaching the summit's goals in the United States might require a doubling of the wholesale price of crude oil, coal, and natural gas, which would work through the economy to produce the equivalent fo $2,000 per year increase, per American household, in outlays for gasoline and heat. Even official U.S. Department of Energy estimates allude to additional costs for middle class workers, in the form of significant job cuts in a number of energy sensitive U.S. industries, including aluminum, cement, chemicals, oil, paper, and steel. Fuel- and fertilizer-dependent agricultural workers also would be hurt" (Paarlberg 247). A theory has been proposed as global climate change occurs the demand for energy will increase to help fuel air-conditioners during heat waves. In a study on space heating/cooling in the face of global climate change, Wendy Morrison and Robert Mendelsohn, suggest that "the future economy will be more sensitive to the cooling losses from higher temperatures than to the warming benefits" (Morrison 230). Meaning they believe that the natural heat provided in the winter will be outweighed by the needs and desires of people to air-condition their houses and companies.


This cartoon was obtained from master stylings of Clay Bennett.
(and to the exact page)

  There are some unusual industries that support fighting global climate change. Insurance companies and natural gas companies stand to gain from preventing global climate change. (Paarlberg 247). Insurance companies would lose money to claims for flooding out of houses caused by a raising of sea levels (this is kind of extreme example, but is more meant to get point across). Also, natural gas companies would become a more inexpensive energy source if oil and coal companies were forced to pay (and therefore pass on to consumers) to become eco-friendly. Therefore people would be more likely to switch to natural gas as a cheaper energy source.

    Others have argued that ending subsidies would be the best way to best protect the environement and jobs. "Some studes argue that from $500 billion to $1 trillion in resources could be made available for environmentally sustainable economic activity by ending subsidies on fossil fuels, pesticides and fertilizers, agriculture, irrigation, logging, resource  development, and other actions that contribute to environmental harm...Subsidies that protect workers from job loss are similariy important to end becuase of their environmental and economic impact. Subsidies require higher taxes and diversion of resources taht could be used to fund environmentally  sustainable economic activities. Many such subsidies seek to protect jobs and profits that will inevitably decline as natural resources are exhausted" (Bryner 179). "Many subsidies aim to block economic progress and change by protecting domestic industries that are unable to compete effectively" (Bryner 180). It is interesting to note that as a company succeeds by robbing the environment that surrounds it, "Impoverishment is taken for progress" (Bryner 182). Meaning that perhaps we should measure progress in something besides purely economic terms.

    It may seem obvious, but is still hotly debated whether or not, "the last half of the twentieth century has been a significant rise in the impacts of humanity on the natural environment" (Soroos 27). "The global push to industrialize and enhance living standards has devoured immense amounts of natural resources and released huge quantities of pollutants into the environment" (Soroos 27).

    Also, the difficulty of weighing economics versus the environment becomes compounded when we place these two issues on the global scale. As America tries to grasp its place in the world as a key player in economics, politics, and the environment, it needs to grapple with where its choices lead.  The concern for the environment has been growing as humans have more and more realized their interdependence with the world around them. Our fates are linked to the fates of the Earth and its systems. However, the world has been divided. During the Civil War of the US, the industrialized north was pitted against the less developed agricultural south. Though it is unclear whether there is any connection in names, there is still a great dispute between the North and the South. The North has become the name of the powerful industrialized and "developed" countries. The South is considered to be those countries that are developing. "The North looked upon the rapidly swelling populations of developing countries as an inportant driver of the looming environmental crisis. The South argued in response that the lavish lifestyles of the 'overdeveloped' countries were more degrading to the global environment than population growth" (Soroos 32).  It is noteworthy to consider where America stands in relation to this debate partially becuase "Developing countries rightly argue that the developed countries have benefited from environmental exploitation in the past and are responsible for most of the world's pollution and resource depletion, including that leading to ozone depletion and climate change; therefore it is primarily their responsibility to deal with these problems. Furthermore, they are not willing to foreclose opportunities for economic growth that would permanently lock them into poverty  and dependency while the peoples of the North engage in profligate consumption" (Vig 6).

    "Because even in the North, the paradigm of unlimited growth of science and technology, goods and services--or capital--and GNP have led to an increasing deterioration in the environment, and subsequently the quality of life" (Mies 500). Though our America's quality of life is deteriorating according to Mies it still seems to be relativily high compared to many other countries. However, our quality of life is based on a delicate structure that relies on hurting the quality of life of others. "The economic reason for these colonial structures is, above all, the externalization of costs from the space and time horizon of those who profit from these divisions. The economic, social and ecological costs of constant growth in teh industrialized countries of the South, to those countries' environment and their peoples. Only by dividing the international workforce into workers in the industrialized centres and by maintaining these relations of dominance even after formal decolonization, is it possible for industrial countries' workers to be paid workers in the South" (Mies 500). It is important for us to consider these as a side-note to the America's environmental policies as we try to bring the underdeveloped to our standards. "These implications are usually ignored when development strategies are discussed. The aim, it is usually stated, is not a reduction in the industrialized societies' living standards but rather that all the 'underdeveloped' should be enabled to attain the same level of affluence as in those societies...The impossibility of this demand is obvious if one considers the ecological consequences of the universalization of the prevailing production system and lifestyle in the North's affluent industrial societies to everyone now living and for some further 30 years on the planet. If, for example, we note that the six per cent of the world's population who live in the USA annually consume 30 per cent of all fossil energy produced, then obviously, it is impossible for the rest of the world's population, of which about 80 per cent live in the poor countries of the South, to consume energy on the same scale" (Mies 501).


This cartoon was obtained from Daryl Cagle’s Profressional Cartoonists Index which has many other disturbing/funny political cartoons.
(For this specific cartoon)

These graphs are from page 79 of Rayner and Malone's Human Choice and Climate Change.
 The first graph represents the view of ever-continuing growth. However, this is unlikely due to the  overexpansion of the human economy. The overexpansion would cause a lack of materials on which this economy is based, causing a collapse in the economy/environment. An extreme case of a collapse would be if within a state they chop down all the trees to make paper products, there would be growth potential until all the trees are cut down. Then both the economy and environment are basically screwed.
 The second graph represents the interplay between natural capital and human-made capital which are "interdependent and to a large extent complementary" (Cantor 78).  It is noteworthy that natural capital is increasingly seen as the limiting factor (Cantor 78).

Materials and Methods:

    The economics of global climate change will play a role in the formation of policy and ultimately will have an impact in the way that human beings view and interact with the environment. When we discuss global warming there are three questions which are impossible to avoid: Is it happening? How fast is it happening? And what should we do about it? The economic impacts both of global warming and of environmental regulation meant to curtail global warming are factors which are of dire consequence.

  In our preliminary research we discovered that at first economics played no role in early environmental policy making. Neither the Clean Air Act, nor the Clean Water Act of the late sixties accounted for the economic impacts of the imposed regulations.(Portney) It was not until the 1980's that policy makers asked for inputs from economists whose influence has since grown immensely. At this point in time, corporations involved in lobbying for or against environmental regulations often cite economic reports in order to influence politicians' decisions. Even the federal government asks for input from economic experts when considering policy changes. The National Center for Environmental Economics conducts research and economic analyses of environmental regulations, but E.P.A policy is made independently of the reports. The U.S. E.P.A. has been asked, recently, by the Bush administration to work in conjunction with the Department of Energy.

    There are problems in trying to compare the cost of jobs to the the cost of the environment. Inherently there is something difficult in weighing qualitative versus quantitave. Part of the problem is how do you value a tree. Is its value part of it being the natural environement? Does it have value becuase it provides oxygen? Would it have any value if it only provided beauty and no oxygen. Part of the problem also comes in weighing the economic benefits of not taking actions now versus the economic and environmental costs twnety years to over a century. And who knows, in that time, perhaps that company will not still be in business or a new technology may come along that can take care of the problem at almost no cost. In the introduction to newer editions of Silent Spring, Al Gore states "We have banned certain pesticides at home, but we still produce them and export them to other countries. This not only involves a readiness to profit by selling others a hazard we will not accept for ourselves; it also reflects an elemental failure to comprehend that the laws of science do not observe the boundaries of politics. Poisoning the food chain anywhere ultimatily poisons the food chain everywhere" (Gore xx). This same readiness to profit is apparently also seen in the energy corporations. But perhaps we should not look so harshly at these corporations. As "Environmental threats are the product not only of population growth and of ignorant or careless individual actions; they are deeply embedded in our religious, cultural, economic, and social system" (Vig 5). If Americans car-pooled as well as generally cut back on how much they drove their automobiles there would be a significant reduction of pollution. "Most people in the affluent societies live in a kind of schizophrenic or 'double-think' state. They are aware of the disasters of Bhopal and Chernobyl, of the 'greenhouse' effect, the destruction of the ozone layer, the gradual poisoning of ground-water, rivers and seas by fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, as wel as industrial waste, and that they themselves increasingly suffer the effects of air pollution, allergies, stress and noise, and the health risks due to industrially produced food. They also know that responsibility for these negative impacts on their quality life lies in their own lifestyles and an economic syste based on constant growth. And yet (except for very few) they fail to act on this knowledge by modifiying their lifestyles...most people expect science and technology to provide a solution to these dilemmas, rather than taking steps to limit their own consumptionand production patterns" (Mies 500).

    That Americans can have their cake and eat it too seems to be supported by the Bush administration. An undertone of this view can be seen in President Bush's statement, "America must have an energy policy that plans for the future, but meets the needs of today. I believe we can develop our national resources and protect our environemnt" (National Energy Policy Development Group 2).

    This may be possible, but it seems unlikely. Understandibly so, corporations want to maximize their profits. Therefore they want to spend as little money as possible on things that will cost them money, even if it may help the environment. "Private industry in the United States has strongly opposed domestic or international controls on greenhouse gas emissions. In 1993, when Clinton proposed his BTU tax, the coal, petroleum, and public utilities industries mounted a strong resistance. Organized industry opposition prior to the Kyoto conference in 1997 took the form of a $13 million ad campaign sponsored by private energy-linked companies...the leading corporate voice against a strong policy on this occasion was the Global Climage Change Coalition, a consortium of coal, oil, and automobile companies and utilities" (Paarlberg 246). This ad campaign was thought to have influence in congress.

    "The Global Climate Change Coalition released a study late in 1997 purporting to show that cumulative losses to the U.S. economy from a climate treaty could amount to $30,000 by each American household in the years 2000-2020. The Center for Energy and Economic Development, a group with a $4 million annual budget sponsored by the coal industry, targeted business and civic groups in eleven states with a similiar message" (Paarlberg 246). Prompted by the conference in Kyoto, "In April 1998 representatives of large oil compianies, trade associations, and conservative policy research organizations, working through the Washington offices of the American Petroleum Institute, drafted a plan to spend $5 million over the next two years to maximize the impact of scientific views consistent with ours'--in other words, views skeptical of the idea of human-induced climate change" (Paarlberg 246). "On climate change policy, however, labor opposition has become significant factor; the potentially vulnerable United Mine Workers spent $1.5 million in 1996 and 1997 to block a strong treaty. Other labor groups fear that substantially higher fuel costs due to climate change policy would slow economic growth and harme wokers. Private estimates tend to bear out hese fears. Immediately following the Kyoto summit, Yale economist William Nordhaus estimated that reaching the summit's goals in the United States might require a doubling of the wholesale price of crude oil, coal, and natural gas, which would work through the economy to produce the equivalent fo $2,000 per year increase, per American household, in outlays for gasoline and heat. Even official U.S. Department of Energy estimates allude to additional costs for middle class workers, in the form of significant job cuts in a number of energy sensitive U.S. industries, including aluminum, cement, chemicals, oil, paper, and steel. Fuel- and fertilizer-dependent agricultural workers also would be hurt" (Paarlberg 247). A theory has been proposed as global climate change occurs the demand for energy will increase to help fuel air-conditioners during heat waves. In a study on space heating/cooling in the face of global climate change, Wendy Morrison and Robert Mendelsohn, suggests that "the future economy will be more sensitive to the cooling losses from higher temperatures than to the warming benefits" (Morrison 230). Meaning they believe that the natural heat provided in the winter will be outweighed by the needs and desires of people to air-condition their houses and companies.

    There are some unusual industries that support fighting global climate change. Insurance companies and natural gas companies stand to gain from preventing global climage change. (Paarlberg 247). Insurance companies would lose money to claims for flooding out of houses caused by a raising of sea levels (this is kind of an extreme example, but is meant to get point across). Also natural gas companies would become a relatively less expensive energy source if oil and coal companies were forced to increase prices to become eco-friendly. Therefore people would be more likely to switch to natural gas as a cheaper energy source.
    Others have argued that ending subsidies would be the best way to best protect the environement and jobs. "Some studes argue that from $500 billion to $1 trillion in resources could be made available for environmentally sustainable economic activity by ending subsidies on fossil fuels, pesticides and fertilizers, agriculture, irrigation, logging, resource  development, and other actions that contribute to environmental harm...Subsidies that protect workers from job loss are similariy important to end becuase of their environmental and economic impact. Subsidies require higher taxes and diversion of resources taht could be used to fund environmentally  sustainable economic activities. Many such subsidies seek to protect jobs and profits that will inevitably decline as natural resources are exhausted" (Bryner 179).

    "Many subsidies aim to block economic progress and change by protecting domestic industries that are unable to compete effectively" (Bryner 180).
It is interesting to note that as a company succeeds by robbing the environment that surrounds it, "Impoverishment is taken for progress" (Bryner 182). Meaning that perhaps we should measure progress in something besides purely economic terms.
 

        It may seem obvious, but yet is still hotly debate that "The last half of the twentieth century has been a significant rise in the impacts of humanity on the natural environment" (Soroos 27). "The global push to industrialize and enhance living standards has devoured immense amounts of natural resources and released huge quantities of pollutants into the environment" (Soroos 27).
 

So what actions can be taken?
 
 

    Also, the difficulty of weighing economics versus the environment becomes compounded when we place these two issues on the global scale. As America tries to grasp its place in the world as a key player in economics, politics, and the environment, it needs to grapple with where its choices lead.  The concern for the environment has been growing as humans have more and more realized their interconnectedness with the world around them. Our fates are linked to the fates of the general environment. However, the world has been divided. During the Civil War of the US, the industrialized north was pitted against the less developed agricultural south. Though it is unclear whether there is any connection in names, there is still a great dispute between the North and the South. The North has become the name of the powerful industrialized and "developed" countries. The South is considered to be those countries that are developing. "The North looked upon the rapidly swelling populations of developing countries as an inportant driver of the looming environmental crisis. The South argued in response that the lavish lifestyles of the 'overdeveloped' countries were more degrading to the global environment than population growth" (Soroos 32).  It is noteworthy to consider where America stands in relation to this debate partially becuase "Developing countries rightly argue that the developed countries have benefited from environmental exploitation in the past and are responsible for most of the world's pollution and resource depletion, including that leading to ozone depletion and climate change; therefore it is primarily their responsibility to deal with these problems. Furthermore, they are not willing to foreclose opportunities for economic growth that would permanently lock them into poverty  and dependency while the peoples of the North engage in profligate consumption" (Vig 6).

    "Because even in the North, the paradigm of unlimited growth of science and technology, goods and services--or capital--and GNP have led to an increasing deterioration in the environment, and subsequently the quality of life" (Mies 500). Though our America's quality of life is deteriorating according to Mies it still seems to be relativily high compared to many other countries. However, our quality of life is based on a delicate structure that relies on hurting the quality of life of others. "The economic reason for these colonial structures is, above all, the externalization of costs from the space and time horizon of those who profit from these divisions. The economic, social and ecological costs of constant growth in teh industrialized countries of the South, to those countries' environment and their peoples. Only by dividing the international workforce into workers in the industrialized centres and by maintaining these relations of dominance even after formal decolonization, is it possible for industrial countries' workers to be paid workers in the South" (Mies 500). It is important for us to consider these as a side-note to the America's environmental policies as we try to bring the underdeveloped to our standards. "These implications are usually ignored when development strategies are discussed. The aim, it is usually stated, is not a reduction in the industrialized societies' living standards but rather that all the 'underdeveloped' should be enabled to attain the same level of affluence as in those societies...The impossibility of this demand is obvious if one considers the ecological consequences of the universalization of the prevailing production system and lifestyle in the North's affluent industrial societies to everyone now living and for some further 30 years on the planet. If, for example, we note that the six per cent of the world's population who live in the USA annually consume 30 per cent of all fossil energy produced, then obviously, it is impossible for the rest of the world's population, of which about 80 per cent live in the poor countries of the South, to consume energy on the same scale" (Mies 501).
 

Results:


 
 
 
 


 


 
 


 
 

Figure A

 
 

Figure B

Figure C


 

Figure D

Figure E

 
 
 

Figure F                                                                            Figure G

Discussion & Conclusions:

    When we began our project we did so with the assumption that it would be possible to find a real cost for preventing global warming. However, what we did not understand is that it is truly impossible to predict exactly how much appropriate measures would cost. The first problems that we encountered were time and threshold. In order to predict how much it would cost to curtail global warming, we needed to understand what concentration of greenhouse gasses could be tolerated by the environment and in turn, how long we had to decrease that concentration before global warming set in. Every article, book, website, and politician has a different set of opinions. While some researchers suggest that we have merely a decade of two, others would insist that we will not see devastating effects for more than a century. Likewise, researchers vary dramatically in considering how much C02 and other greenhouse gasses can be processed by environmental feedback loops. Even the most basic details of global climate change are in dispute. Some people don't even think that it's happening in the first place.

    The second set of problems that we had in trying to find the cost for a real solution to greenhouse warming was that of trying to analyise the economic situation. Instead of a simple set of costs and benefits, we found that the process of environmental regulation is a complex economic system. Economics are involved in multiple ways on several different levels. First, economics are discussed as part of the larger picture, trying to use gross domestic product in conjunction with environmental assessments to create long term goals and to set specific limits for industrialized nations. Second, the time frame for action is discussed with an eye on economics in setting specific intermediary steps; how much pollution can we plan to eliminate over the next three years, five years, ten years, etc. Again, this entire process depends upon how much time is available for action before global warming sets in. Economics also come into play when deciding how to reduce greenhouse gass emissions. Everyone has a plan for the most economically feasable way to reduce emissions. But inherent in all discussion of implementation are what industries are to be most affected and how, what role the government will play in subsidising efforts to create better technology, Lastly economics decide what sort of measures are to be taken against companies that refuse to comply with environmental regulations; how much of a punitive fine should be assessed if any?

    Economics also come into play on completely different level. Market forces are essential to understanding the economic impact of any change. Will environmental regulation drive industry and manufacturing to other countries with more lenient standards? Will people spend more money to buy a more environmentally friendly product? Will people continue to support businesses with poor environmental records? Does prevention of global warming entail greater taxes, and if so, what impact will they have on the market? Any attempt to curtail global warming will directly translate in market changes.

    So when it comes down to assessing the situation at hand, there are three primary players: Environmental Activists, Industry  and Manufacturing, and the Public / Market. But here again we run into problems. Environmental activists and lobbyists representing Industry and Manufacturing have distinct ways of assessing the global climate situation.  Figures D through G are a compilation of four studies done for the G.C.C., an interest group representing manufacturing and industry. The information that they find most critical is the amount of damage that they believe would result from complying with the standards set by the Kyoto Protocols. These tables estimate a loss from 100 billion dollars to 450 billion dollars for the American economy. So, while there is a significant range in the estimates from manufacturing and industry, the Kyoto Protocols inevitably result in the disruption of the American Economy. At the same time, most studies conducted for business and industry assert that we have a significantly longer time period before global warming will have any serious effects. With these two ideas taken as a given, the Kyoto Protocols seem to be over agressive and damaging to the American economy.

    In Figures A through C, we see the way that environmental advocates view global warming. These charts show a number of negative effects ranging from an increase in the human disease rate, to loss of natural habitat and crop failures. These graphs are from the I.P.C.C., the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the creators of the Kyoto Protocols. The I.P.C.C. and most of scientific academia are focused on concerns other than economic growth. The predictions that they make deal with the consequences of not curtailing global warming. In effect, this is the flip side of the coin from the interpretations of business and industry. While the I.P.C.C. does deal with economic factors, they deal with economics on a much broader level. In Figure C, the I.P.C.C. estimates how much compliance with the Kyoto Protocols would cost, but only using ballpark figures. Unstated is the total effect of complicance on economics; there are no figures suggesting that it will cost X billions of dollars.

    With the obvious discrepancy between the estimates of industry and manufacturing, and those of environmental activists, it becomes impossible to estimate the effects of signing or not signing the Kyoto Protocols. The third factor, public opinion, then becomes vital in understanding how environmental policy is made in America. Becuase political officials are elected by the people, public opinion guides political decisions, specifically, the amount of influence held by either Industry and Manufacturing, or Environmental Advocates. We decided then to get a sense of public opinion and to correllate public opinion of environmental legislation with the influence of several factors. We wanted to know not just what peoples opinions were, but where they got their information.

    Our survey had some surprising results, however. As you can see in Figure 3, the majority of people that we surveyed felt that it was innaprorpriate for the Bush Administration to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocols. Likewise, in Figure 4, a majority of the people we survey thought that Environmental Protection was more important than either Economic Development or National Security. In Figure 2, the results were the opposite of what we had anticipated. Those who felt that environmental protection was most important thought that industry and manufacturing lobbyists had more influence than the E.P.A. Meanwhile, both those who favored national security and those who supported economic development felt that the E.P.A. was the most influential. Also, all three groups felt that public opinion had the least influence of all choices. In Figure 1, we can see some similar trends. Again, every single group ranked public opinion as the smallest influence. Strangly, however, the Democrats and Republicans gave approximately the same amount of relative influence to the four groups. While Democrats and Republicans both felt that the E.P.A. had the most influence, those affiliated with the Green Party and the Libertarian Party felt that industry and manufacturing held the dominant influence in environmental policy making.

    Aside from the previous interesting results, the political parties tended to represent predictable interests. As you can see in Table 1, 80% of Republicans felt that either economic development or national security were greater priorities than environmental protection. 95% of Greens felt that environmental protection was the most important issue, with 5% placing national security as the most important. Though the influences may have been the same for Republicans and Democrats, their priorities are substantially different; 69% of Democrats felt that environment was most important. This information is supported by the political decisions made by the respective parties; the Green Party is centered around a platform of environmental protection, while the Republican Party (the Bush Administration) views environmental protection as a secondary concern to national security and economic development.

    What all of our data suggests is a need for consensus. If policy is to be made effectively, then the public, manufacturing and industry lobbyists, environmental advocates, and governmental agencies like the E.P.A. and the Department of Energy need to agree on several different aspects of global climate change policy. First, there needs to be cooperation in determining what standards of scientific inquiry need to be met in order to determine a time-table for action. Next, environmental advocates and industry and manufacturing need to create more a more cohesive understanding of the effects of global climate change; instead of environmental advocates discussing the ramifications of non compliance, and industry and manufacturing discussing the downfalls of compliance, both sides need to adress eachother. Only when each side is discussing the same issue can we hope to make progress. Additionally, something needs to be done to increase the influence of public opinion. Because the public (market forces) is so influential in determining the success or failure of any environmental regulation, it is important that we heed public opinion.

    Ceratin questions are also raised by our experiment. Why do most Americans feel that Public Opinion has the less influence than Industry and Manufacturing? If Industry and Manufacturing are the dominant source of influence in environmental policy making, what does this suggest about the Bush Administration's position on the Kyoto Protocols, which are supported by the majority of the public? How is it that Republicans and Democrats claim the same amounts of relative influence for each group when their national priorities are practically opposite? If the vast majority of Americans feel that current environmental regulations are inadequate to prevent global warming, what needs to be done next?

    If we had the opportunity to conduct further research, we would write a more thorough survey. We would give out many more surveys and try to distribute them to a greater cross-section of the American public. As is, our surveys are limited to people in Oxford, OH who are primarily between the ages of 18 and 22. Extending our evaluations to greater geographical and age ranges would provide a more accurate assessment of public opinion in regards to environmental policy making. We would also conduct further research to keep this project updated to the current situation; the status of environmental policy and our understanding of global climate change are continually changing.
 
 

Annotated Bibliography:

Websites:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
This is the site for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the intergovernmental panel that created the Kyoto Protocols.

http://www.globalchange.org
This website is a news site that focuses on global climate change, specifically American climate policy. It was created by the U.S. Global Climate Change Research Program in 1989 by a presidential initiative. It sponsors research and provides a solid basis for understanding the ideology and biases of federally funded climate change research.

http://www.globalclimate.org
The official website of the Global Climate Coalition, a coalition whose membership consists of some 800 businesses. This website is the counterpoint to much of the information provided by environmental lobby groups. In essence, this site represents the interests and interpretations of big business.

http://www.suvoa.com
This is the website of the Sport Utility Vehicle Owners of America. It is an interesting site because it is per se the opinions of a segment of consumer America. Neither big business, nor environmental lobbyists, this site provides a third view of climate change: the desire of many Americans to continue the relative luxury and extravagance of a gasoline powered economy. However, in many ways, this site presents the de facto opinions of the automotive industry, as it is a useful propaganda tool, allowing the automotive industry to duck responsibility by claiming that they serve public demand.

www.yosemite1.epa.gov/ee/epa/eed.nsf/pages/homepage
This is the National center for environmental economics. This is the agency responsible for doing the economic reports for the E.P.A. The reports are thorough, detailed and provide a better understanding of the kind of information on which the E.P.A. makes it's policy recommendations.

www.epa.gov
This is the E.P.A.'s homepage. It provides a coherent overview of the policy advocated by the Environmental Protection Agency. In tandem with the previous site, this is an incredibly useful page. The E.P.A. is currently involved in a political battle with the Department of Energy and the Bush Administration over which group will have central influence in environmental policy.

www.energy.gov
This is the website for the Department of Energy, a governmental agency responsible for fostering industry and specifically domestic energy production. Currently the Bush Administration has instructed the E.P.A. to work with the Department of Energy in establishing environmental policy recommendations.

Journals:

 Chemical Week. "CMA Reverses Policy on Early Crediting." March 21, 2001. Franz.
Discusses Clinton's policy of rewarding businesses that voluntarily reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The CMA is a lobby group which opposes the Kyoto Protocol. It provides further information about their reversal in policy in choosing to support Clinton's policy of voluntary environmental action.

 Chemical Week. "Bush Reverses Policy on Carbon Dioxide Emissions." March 15, 2000. Franz.
This article discusses the role of a domestic energy crisis in the formation of Bush's climate policy. It talks about the worries of business that a cap on CO2 might lead to other more financially burdening caps on other emissions. It also talks about the dissension of the democrats in Congress to Bush's climate policy.

 Demography. "Demography and the Environment(in Presidential Address)." November 1998. Pebley.
This article talks about the importance of demographic studies in the formation and study of environmental issues. It also talks about the implications of global climate change on shifting global demographics. It talks about the third wave of environmental action, which expanded the possibility of environmental problems to have global impacts. This article is primarily concerned with the equity in terms of resource use and the effects on populations and how this equality relates to responsibility for action in preventing global warming.

 Environment. "The Role of Science in Policy: The Climate Change Debate". June 1999. Skolnikoff.
This article talks about the diminishing role of science in the formation of environmental policy, in favor of economic and political forces. This is an overview of how domestic climate policy is formed.

Environment. Counting Cost: The Growing Role of Economics in Environmental Decision Making." March 1998. Portney.
This article defends the necessity for economic evaluation of environmental policy. It discusses the pros and cons of using economics, providing a brief history of economics and environmental legislation. Ultimately he concludes that economics not only should be used in evaluating environmental policy, but that we have a moral obligation to do so.

 Journal of Economic Literature. Environmental Economics: A Survey." June 1992. Cropper, Oates.
This article discusses the impact and importance in the process of placing monetary values on environmental resources and other typically non-monetarily valued ecological commodities. It also deals with the way that economics was primarily ignored in the first wave of environmental legislation from the 1960's and how economics have been progressively (and correctly in the opinion of the author) more influential in policy making.

 Science. "Realistic Mitigation Options for Global Warming(in Policy Forum)." June 10, 1992. Cooper, Lee, Marland, Rosenfeld, Rubin, Stine.
They begin by saying that preliminary cost analysis of mitigation options suggests that there are a variety of energy efficiency measures now available that could reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses by ten to forty percent at low cost. This article also discusses the conflict between the stances of Europe and the U.S. government on issues of global climate change. The U.S. avoids making what they consider rash decisions based on what they feel are preliminary and inconclusive studies on global warming.

The American Economic Review. "Some Economics of Global Warming." March 1992. Thomas Schelling.
This is a single economic interpretation of the impacts of global climate policy. He focuses on underdeveloped countries and the role that they can play in mitigation of the greenhouse effect. Moreover, this article demonstrates the multitude of factors that must be taken into account in order to form an accurate assessment of the costs and benefits of global climate policy.

 Environment. "Climate Change and a Global City." April, 2001. Cynthia Rosenzweig.
This article uses New York City as the basis for a case study in the impacts of climate variability and change. The premises is that organisms naturally adapt to changes in climate and environment, and that the world will function as a global city, doing much the same a larger level. The author argues that global climate change is itself forcing a re-evaluation of urban environmental management.

Books:

 Hurrell, Andrew and Benedict Kingsbury, eds. The International Politics of the Environment: Actors, interests and institutions. New York : Oxford University Press, 1992.
In the introduction to this collection of essays, Andrew Hurrell and Benedict Kingsbury ask: "Can a fragmented and often highly conflicting political system made up of over 170 sovereign states and numerous other factors achieve the high (and historically unprecedented) levels of co-operation and policy co-ordination needed to manage environmental problems on a global scale?" This book addresses that question as the politics the environment from a mainly global perspective.
 

 Kamieniecki, Sheldon, ed. Environmental Politics in the International Arena: Movements, parties, organizations, and policy. Albany, N.Y. : State University of New York Press, 1993.
Among other things, this book contains an analysis of a random sampling of people from UK, Germany, and USA and the "Dominant Social Paradigm" and the "New Environmental Paradigm." The "most fundamental differences center upon the role of economic activity" (25).
 

Mies, Maria. "Deceiving the Third World: The Myth of Catching-Up Develpment." Environmental Ethics: Readings in Theory and Application. Louis P. Pojman.  Boston, Jones and Bartlett, 1994.
 This looks as environmentalism and economics from a more global point of view. It presents some interesting arguments but tends to be militant in its arguments.

Rayner, Steve and Elizabeth L. Malone. Human Choice and Climate Change: volume three the tools for policy and analysis. Columbus, Ohio: Battelle Press, 1998.
Describes considerations of climate change and economic in down-to-earth terms.
Includes-
    Cantor, Robin and Gary Yohe. "Economic Analysis."

Vig, Norman J and Regina Axelrod, eds. The Global Environment: institutions, law, and policy. Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, 1999.
This book has case studies of sustainable development in the Netherlands, Czech Republic, China and Indonesia which are cases that involve the intertwining of financial and environmental concerns.
Includes-
    Byrner, Gary C. "Agenda 21: Myth or Reality?"
    Soroos, Marvin S. "Global Institutions and the Environment: An Evolutionary Perspective."
    Paarlberg, Robert L. "Lapsed Leadership: U.S. International Environmental Policy Since Rio."


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