Topics: Greenhouse gas, Climate change, Global warming Pages: 8 (3086 words) Published: March 24, 2013
Environmental issues soared to a prominent place on the political agenda in the United States and other industrial nations. The politics of the environment revolves in many respects, around judgment, evidence, and uncertain. Additionally, in keeping with the positivity theme mention, we will note the successes of environmental policy as well as problems. The major policy on the environmental area is security, in this case refers to safety, “the prevention of future needs”. Future needs often have a political potency far greater than actual needs. Equally as contentious is the conflict between the goal of security and the goal of efficiency, particularly concerning economic and energy policy. To the extreme that industry is regulated and certain economic activities are restricted or prohibited, extra cost are incurred and the production of goods and services is limited. This is the heart of battles over opening the Arctic National Wildfire Refuge or the continental shelf off the west coast of Florida to drilling. If burning fossil fuels leads to a warming of the atmosphere, then nonfossil fuels should be used. Efficiency as a goal, also relates to the kinds of regulatory strategy used and the security-efficiency trade off works itself into the environmental area in another way. Environmental protection is expensive involving, administration of public programs at all levels of government and compliance costs within the private sector. What is needed is environmental protection that is efficient and cost-effective. Environmental regulations whether coastal zoning, wetlands, or clean air, require that some person or entity undertake some action or be restricted from taking actions, environmental policy inherently intrudes upon that person’s or entity’s liberty. The final policy goal is equity. An argument to be made that poor people and minorities are disproportionately the subjects of environmental insults, including the locations of facilities designed to clean the environment. The equivalent of the property-rights movement is the environmental-justice movement. Following that, we will look at what policy tools are available for such intervention, given the previous analysis. Environmental policy, like health policy, addresses one of the underlying themes of public policy, the government issue of involvement. Some economics argue that free market rather than a centrally planned economy is the most efficient means of allocating resources. The economic rationale for government involvement in the environment is market failure. First is a negative externality, “effect on one of more persons that emanates from the action of a different person or firm.” The private costs of manufacturing the product include the value of all resources-labor, energy, and, materials. The social costs include not only the private costs of manufacturing the product, but also the city’s expenditures to clean up the water used in the process. This expense is not included in the market price, but somebody pays. This constitutes a negative externality. Air pollution has similar dynamics. The power plant does not have to pay for depositing the sulfur dioxide in the air nor for the damage in might cause, such as acid rain. Thus, in this case of negative externalities, government action would be necessary to bring private costs; the cost of damages caused by acid rain, and in this case, the free rider problem that will often occur when individual benefits are far below individual costs. The collective cost of such action, maybe comparatively high, consider automobiles and air pollution: there are millions of vehicles on the road; the contribution of each vehicle to air pollution is very small. Voluntarily installing an antipollution device on a car might cost several hundreds of dollars and reduce air pollution only a little. Few rational people would be willing to bear the full costs of installing the device for such a small effect. While the free rider...
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