LEC_wk2_EconomicsAndScientificFundamentals[1] -...

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1 ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS & THE FUNDAMENTALS OF SCIENCE WEEK 2 ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY Environmental Economics Environmental economists study how people use their limited resources and in order to satisfy their wants/needs. Utility ” – the benefit one gets from a good or service. We try to maximize utility! Externality ” – the other (usually unintended) effects that a business causes, but does not pay for with its production. Negative Externality vs. Positive Externality Ex #1 : Soot is emitted from a power plant, which causes acid rain to land on nearby soybean fields. This damages the farmers crops and results in increased prices at the grocery store. Ex #2 : A bee keeper sells his honey to his fellow farmers to make money. The bees pollinate the neighboring farmers’ fields, which help increase crop yields. Ex #3 : You keep your yard well maintained to improve the value of your house. This also helps improve the value of your neighbor’s home. Ex #4 : A farmer over-fertilizes his fields to make up for diminished crops yields. Much of the fertilizer washes into the rivers and results in reduced aquatic oxygen levels. Salmon populations crash. Controlling Negative Externalities 1. Identify Optimal Amount of Pollution this is the amount of pollution that the environment/society can withstand without negative impact. In some cases this amount can be offset by the benefits attained while producing this pollution. 2. Consider Marginal Cost of Pollution this is the cost of damages to human and environmental health. Important consideration is the value of natural ecosystem services. 3. Consider Marginal Cost of Abatement this is the cost of cleaning up the pollution. Economic Optimality for CO 2 Emissions Economic Optimality Graph for Carbon Dioxide Emissions Dollars Per Unit Waste Tons of CO2 Emitted Marginal cost of pollution abatement Marginal cost of pollution emission Economically optimal amount of CO2 emitted. This figure represents the economically optimal level of pollution in an efficient market. The upward-sloping curve represents the cost of CO2 emissions at various amounts. The downward-sloping line represents the cost of reducing CO2 to a lower, less-damaging level. (Quantity) Environmental Justice Environmental justice addresses the concerns that poor and disadvantaged communities are at a higher risk of exposure to environmental hazards. Municipal waste facilities
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This document was uploaded on 11/02/2011 for the course BIOLOGY Bi 105 at Montgomery.

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LEC_wk2_EconomicsAndScientificFundamentals[1] -...

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