5. The good: Theoretically, improvements in efficiency and innovation can reduce resource intensiveness, which overall reduces impact as per EHE model. Algebraically, as T have the same weight as P and A in the model, innovations in technologies can theoretically have a profound effect on minimizing impact. The bad: Technology cannot be measured with a simple indicator and thus hard to quantify. Furthermore, T, A and P affects one another. While in theory an increase in efficiency can reduce overall environmental impact, in reality however, such innovation and efficiency have caused population to increase substantially, and consumption to also increase drastically. Thus, the overall environmental impact has still increased. Innovations in agriculture and medicine have contributed to an increase in populations. As a result of the interdependencies between P, A, and T
and potential rebound effects, policies aimed at reducing environmental effects through manipulations in A, P or T (right side strategy) may not only be problematic to implement but also are likely to be rather ineffective. A preferred method (left side strategy) is to ration resource use or taxing any market activity that generate externalities (pollution, etc) to correct an undesirable outcome. 6 . EHE ignores the political structures of nations and groups. The individual or group’s political will to pass meaningful environmental regulations that imposes severe penalties on corporate externalities or reduce population growth rate is not considered. Politics can be a powerful influence over P, A and T. For example, in 1979 Chairman Deng Xiaoping's Communist party politics decreed the One Child Policy that lasted for twenty six years. Its effects have dramatically altered China’s population and gender ratio. The UN suggests that it prevented 400 million births, skewed sex ratio in favor of boys. With 400 million less to feed, undoubtedly, one may argue that the environmental impact was minimized. Thus the political power and will of the state that can affect environmental impact was indeed missing in Ehrlich's equation. Population and affluence are two key force drivers of anthropogenic stress on the environment. However, population and affluence can be influenced by powerful political ideologies. For example, radical nationalism (Fascism) where mighty corporate dominates society supporting a centralized authoritative leadership and the environmental abuse that comes with it. Ehrlich's equation also ignores the culture and politics that dominate some localized regions of the globe. Regional areas where sustainable use of resources among the indigenous population with low impact practices is observed. For example, the Yanomamo tribe in the Amazon rainforest has a lifestyle that had been in existence for thousands of years sustainably co-existing in harmony with the Amazon rainforest. Yet, under Ehrlich's equation, the Yanomamo people are diluted and become part of the per capita average of the Brazilian population. The tribe's sustainable techniques and low environmental impact are never accounted for by Ehrlich and Holdren.
- Summer '17
- Greenhouse gas, Kyoto Protocol, eHe