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Unformatted text preview: 1 Introduction to Environmental Introduction to Environmental Law and Regulation Law and Regulation Resource Consumption Commons Environmental Law and Regulation Issues History of Resource Consumption in History of Resource Consumption in the United States the United States • In the 1700s, questions regarding energy and environment were mostly irrelevant to the colonists • The US population in 1890 was 4 million across 900,000 square miles of land • Exploitation and environmental degradation seemed trivial • Not until 1798 will English economist Thomas Malthus publish his essay on population effects on future living standards (limitations of food supply) Robert Lineberry, 1986 The Commons Dilemma (I) The Commons Dilemma (I) • Garett Hardin; “The Tragedy of the Commons” Science v. 162,13; 1968 – Proposition- The market is not uniformly successful in enabling individuals to sustain long term productive use of natural resource systems – Hypothesis • Envision a pasture open to all in an agrarian society • Each herder is motivated to add more animals to the herd • Examine the situation from the perspective of a rational herder – Benefits- direct economic value of animal added to herd accruing to the individual – Cost- indirect shared costs of resource consumption and deferred environmental costs (overgrazing will reduce the total sustainable yield of resource in the commons) The Commons Dilemma (II) The Commons Dilemma (II) • The Tragedy: – Each individual is compelled to add to their herd without limit in a world that is limited – Is it moral to consume while you still can, or are there lessons to be learned here with respect to the manner in which individuals value resources and the costs of externalities associated with consumption? Commons Dilemma Solutions (I) Commons Dilemma Solutions (I) • Government intervention – Collective process to develop grazing rules • Estimate Sustainable yield • Divide yield by herdsmen • Allow only X animals per herdsman • System is self-enforcing even because you watch others – Keep in mind that this example is a simple dilemma (easy to resolve) and that most resource problems are much more complex • Clear objective • No competing uses • Small community • Similar values, etc. Commons Dilemma Solutions (II) Commons Dilemma Solutions (II) • Privatization • Each herdsman allowed 1 square • Raise as much as you want, but if you overgraze, you starve • Survival of the fittest (Darwinism) • Eventually an educated equilibrium is reached • Very efficient because ongoing collective action is unnecessary • Consume while you can – Historic solution 2 Environmental Law Introduction Environmental Law Introduction • Constitution • Federalism • Branches of Government – Legislative – Executive – Judicial • Types of Law – Common Law – Statutory Law – Administrative Law Federalism Federalism • The federal government is a body with limited powers...
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This note was uploaded on 06/07/2009 for the course CEE 4620 taught by Professor Gensler during the Spring '09 term at Georgia Tech.
- Spring '09