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Simultaneous impact of environment and economic activities on each other

Question:

Discuss about the Public Policies on Environmental Externalities for Political.

Modern world is combined projection of enormous social, political and economic activities. The manifestation of these activities’ impact on environment is evident in various aspects and one of the important has been climatic changes. Environmental deterioration stemming from human actions has become common ailment every country of the world faces. The World bank report on climate change and development predicts the world temperature to rise by 5 degree Celsius in coming 100 years in contrast to the pre-industrial phase (Desmet and Rossi-Hansberg 2015).

The report presents a discussion on the simultaneous impact environment and economic activities exert on each other. Various economic activities like industrial production emits green house gases that adds to the worsening of global warming. The global warming in return contracts the limit of economic expansion based on the policies taken publicly to keep the earth temperature in control. The report also highlights some public policies to regulate the externalities on environment and how efficient they are.

The impact of global warming is huge in terms of economic and further social terms. Increase in temperature enhances the sea level and various climatic changes that impact the agriculture greatly, Agriculture is the source to feed people and the biggest impact of global warming falls on it in terms of changed rain consistency, extreme weather condition including more heat and severe snowfall.

The source of global warming is emission of greenhouses gases like carbon dioxide, methane emitted from industrial production of the developed as well as developing nations. More production implies more emission of these would create pressure on the industries to either reduce the production level or employ more energy efficient technologies. International trade of today’s world are subject to share and exchange of range of goods and services that exploits the natural resources abundantly and cause environmental degradation. From consumer goods produced agriculturally and industrially to many services have caused impacts on nature. Thus trade has important contribution in the emission of green house gases leading to worldwide increase in temperature (Strand 2013). But on the other hand trade can be source of facilities in terms of newer and improved technologies adopted. The research and development being conducted worldwide in order to not only reduce the harmful gas emissions but also come up with production an management technique that leads to optimum use of  resources saving up energy. Moreover, ecological sustainability is also important factor to be taken cared by switching to energy efficient mode of production than energy extensive production in various sectors.

Effects of global warming on agriculture and human population

One of the crucial impact that global warming has on human race is problem of migration. The sea level rise cause difficulties for the economic activities based on shoreline. The increasing acidic water body, extreme weather condition and consequent effects on lifestyle induce people to move from one place to another (Wheeler and Von Braun 2013). This leads to huge crisis as new habitats should be made and the population distribution becomes biased leading to increasing population pressure on land. Excessive land pressure does affect the environment.

More the production ignores the detrimental impact it has on the nature, more is the negative outcome exerted on the nature through economic activities like farming, industry production, fishing etc. this would require control or check on the production if the impacts are not neutralized through adoption of efficient technology. This poses challenge to the employment opportunities throughout the world. The global warming changes the geographical advantages a country has and the employment opportunities might become impacted through that. For example for extreme weather condition, the farming of arctic and temperate zone gets affected that further reduces agricultural employment of the region.

The biggest focus of the policy maker to deal with the chronic issue of global warming is to check the emission of hazardous gases mostly carbon dioxide a common emission that increases temperature remarkably by trapping the heat and radiation. The carbon emission is  problem at both individual as well as social level hence government implementation of policies is required to keep the level of emission in check. Some of the policies can be:

Imposition of tax on carbon emission has been one of the popular control policies to check the global warming proceeding. The tax can be conceived as pollution tax and levied based on the carbon content that fuels have. The developed countries that is more prone to make carbon emission due to higher production volume tries to resist the tax level as it causes loss of production. The social cost of carbon emission that is the marginal cost per tonne of emitted carbon has on the society both in economic and non economic way are massive which led to the global countries sign various environmental  treaties in order to maintain a controlled level of carbon emission (Urry 2015) .

Tax exemption of sustainable companies can be other good public policy to encourage green production and reduce level of carbon emissions and resulting environmental degradation. More investment should be made in research and development of green technology making more use of renewable resources. Subsidy should be provided in researching and adopting new technologies that helps in bringing innovation (Grubb 2012).

Sources of greenhouse gas emissions

Deforestation should be made illegal in order to maintain the ecological balance as it is one of the sources of green house gas emissions. Elimination of subsidy on all sorts of fuel can be another good way to discourage the use of exhaustible resources that are more polluting and harmful. 

Another important policy in this context is cap and trade or emission trading. Here economic incentives are provided to achieve targeted reduction in emission of pollutants. The government sells permit empowering the polluters to pollute up to a level fixed in the permit. To increase the level of emission, the polluting firm or business unit need to buy more permits.

The impact of the harmful gas released by human through various activities has raised concerns of the increasing global climatic changes that compelled governments of different countries to implement national program to check it. The Kyoto Protocol in 1997 made the countries come together in maintaining reduced level of green house gas emissions. Analaysis made by OECD suggests reduction of emission is possible at lower cost based on adoption of proper policies. The use of strong market based policies to set global price for green house gas has been popular. Regulation refers to various socially determined and legally implemented policies that evokes awareness on global changes and involve the entities to abide by some agreed level of emission. Kyoto protocol is one of the regulatory approach towards checking emission. Market based policy instruments targets to modify individual as well as firm’s behavior channeled through various financial gains and losses they face. These kind of policies makes adjustment of the relative prices and creates market that did not exist prior. Market based policies can range from imposition of taxes , elimination of subsidy to making use of energy trading system. Moreover market based policies create a system where the associated cost with pollution are incorporated into the decision making of the entity that pollutes. These costs are generally not refelceted in the prices prevailing in the market.

Popular market based mechanism to control emissions are imposition of carbon tax and cap and trade or permit trading. These market-based policies not only reduce emission but also effectively handle the cost that comes with reducing the carbon emission level.  In case of tradable permit, the specific reduction is achieved though no cap in costs is applicable.  Carbon taxes put cap on marginal cost of controlling emission at tax level specified in the tax but there is uncertainty in reducing the carbon emission (Ploeg and Withagen 2014). Finally it can be said where regulation like subsidy on solar power, taxation o pollutants or legal regulations of emitters commands reduction of emission to certain level even incurring much social cost by doing that, market based policies focuses more on the managing the costs through providing various incentives or disincentives to regarding emission  making it more effective.

Conclusion:

The biggest challenge posed to the modern globe is the detrimental impact on environment that all of the combined economic activities have . To check the progression toward devastation and maintain sustainable development adoption of proper policies nationally are important. The economic impacts of continued global warming are huge as the entire economic functioning can disrupt through geographical dislocation, loss of employment or trade, production being forced to stop and so on. The public policies in form of regulation coming from government have been popular mode to reduce carbon and pollutant emission. There regulations imposed higher cost of emission in form of reduced production level which is impossible to meet at the point of growing demand of the economy both form national and international market. The market-based policies have been able to cost of reduction efficiently by allowing the farms to reduce emission without loosing volume of production.

Reference:

Desmet, K. and Rossi-Hansberg, E., 2015. On the spatial economic impact of global warming. Journal of Urban Economics, 88, pp.16-37.

Field, C.B. and Barros, V.R. eds., 2014. Climate change 2014: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability (Vol. 1). Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

Goulder, L.H. and Schein, A.R., 2013. Carbon taxes versus cap and trade: a critical review. Climate Change Economics, 4(03), p.1350010.

Grubb, M., 2012. Emissions trading: Cap and trade finds new energy. Nature, 491(7426), pp.666-667.

Hanewinkel, M., Cullmann, D.A., Schelhaas, M.J., Nabuurs, G.J. and Zimmermann, N.E., 2013. Climate change may cause severe loss in the economic value of European forest land. Nature Climate Change, 3(3), p.203.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2014. Climate Change 2014–Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability: Regional Aspects. Cambridge University Press.

Ploeg, F. and Withagen, C., 2014. Growth, renewables, and the optimal carbon tax. International Economic Review, 55(1), pp.283-311.

Revesz, R.L., Howard, P.H., Arrow, K., Goulder, L.H., Kopp, R.E., Livermore, M.A., Oppenheimer, M. and Sterner, T., 2014. Global warming: Improve economic models of climate change. Nature, 508(7495), pp.173-175.

Strand, J., 2013. Strategic climate policy with offsets and incomplete abatement: Carbon taxes versus cap-and-trade. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 66(2), pp.202-218.

Urry, J., 2015. Climate change and society. In Why the social sciences matter (pp. 45-59). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Watts, N., Adger, W.N., Agnolucci, P., Blackstock, J., Byass, P., Cai, W., Chaytor, S., Colbourn, T., Collins, M., Cooper, A. and Cox, P.M., 2015. Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health. The Lancet, 386(10006), pp.1861-1914.

Wheeler, T. and Von Braun, J., 2013. Climate change impacts on global food security. Science, 341(6145), pp.508-513.

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