ESP 1 Final Study Guide

Week 7 - Environmental Valuation and the Conservation Policy
→ What is economic valuation?
● We attach a dollar value to something; for example when the forest is cleared we
would consider the costs and benefits of doing so
● Values measured usually in monetary units
● Prices aren’t necessarily values
→ What are two assumptions involved in economic valuation?
● Assume you can put a dollar value on ecosystem services?
→ Explain difference between a use and non- use value
● Use values are reflected through behavior, such as recreation, tourism, property
● Measure through the willingness to pay
● Non use, or passive use values do not have a behavioral trait..we can measure
them using structured surveys
→ Explain the difference between different types of non-use values
● Existence value → simply knowing that an environmental amenity exists, such
as endangered species
● Option value → value from preserving option to use in the future
● Bequest value: knowing you are leaving behind environmental quality for future
→ Explain difference between indirect and direct use value
● Indirect → supporting services, such as nutrient cycling, soil formation,
primary production
○ Biodiversity put under this
● Direct Use:
○ Provisioning
■ Food, fresh water, wood and fiber, fuel
○ Regulating Services
■ Climate, Flood, Disease, Water
○ Cultural
■ Aesthetic, Spiritual, Education, Recreational
● In direct services are needed to maintain all other services, and the second three
are services that people directly experience
→ How is valuation used in cost benefit analysis?
● Valuation informs cost benefit analysis, cost benefit analysis evaluates the
favorable effects of policy actions and the opportunity costs of those actions
● Favorable effects = benefits...and opportunities forgone define economic costs
● Cost benefit analysis accounts for a change in the total economic value, where
that is calculated through use + non use
● Use values are easy to measure because of the behavioral trail, techniques are
known as revealed preference
● Passive values become more difficult to estimate due to no market for them, we
use techniques such as stated preference data, and one technique from that is
contingent valuation
→ Steps in Cost Benefit Analysis
● Identify baseline and policy alternatives
● Describe quantitatively the impacts of the proposed policy
● Estimate benefits of cost of impact
● Compute net benefits, which is NB = B - C and perform sensitivity analysis
→ Notes on Contingent Valuation
● Process: ask people their willingness to pay or accept to bring about a specific
environmental improvement...payment mechanism specified
● Sum up individual payments...this generates the aggregate measure of the passive
uses values to society
● There are different types of questions that can be asked:
○ Open ended: ask respondents for max WTP
○ Close ended: specify a certain amount
● Bidding games: ask respondents whether they WTP a certain amount...then keep
increasing the price if they say yes
→ Advice to Give People Giving CV
● Mechanism must be believable
● Should not be controversial
● Aspects of payment mechanism must be considered
○ Ex. the nature of payment
○ Frequency
○ Where payment goes
● Consider the relevant population
○ Different results should probably be expected for different regions
→ CV Bias
● Strategic bias → when respondents provide a biased answer to influence a
particular outcome
● Non response bias → only those who care about the issue will respond to the
● Survey instrument bias → when the form of tone of a question generates a
biased response
● Information bias → arises whenever respondents are forced to value things
they have little or no knowledge of
● Starting Point Bias → respondent is asked to check off his or her answer from
a predefined range of possibilities
● Anchoring → willingness to pay dependent on ORDER of questions
→ What are some CV critiques?
● Respondents might be expressing value for just a class of goods
● Warm glow from supporting good causes
○ Do people really care about the cause or they just want to feel good?
○ A study of saving birds showed willingness to pay did not increase with
number of birds saved
● May just be reacting to news → do they really care about the resource or
about preventing the action?
→ What should be considered when determining whether a species should be under the
● 1982 ESA Amendments → when determining ESA status, biological and trade
info should be considered
→ What to consider when making regulations about critical habitat?
● Economic impacts is considered when setting up boundaries of the habitat
→ What approaches to environmental policy-making does the ESA embody?
→ What is a taking per the ESA
● “ to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, capture, or attempt to engage in any such
→ Undesirable consequences of the ESA
● Ben Cone case → 1,000 acres of his land was of limits to logging. The value of
his land went down and cost him $2 million.
● He developed efforts to improve the quality of species habitat on his land by
engaging in selective logging and maintaining long timber rotation cycles
● The red-cockaded woodpecker greatly benefitted from this
● Cone began to clear more of his land to prevent woodpecker infestations
● Many people destroy land before species can start to reside in them.
● Farmers change crops to prevent species feasting on them; leading to ESA
Week 10 Study Questions - Conservation Strategies and Biodiversity
● Ecological Levels of Organization
○ The definition of biodiversity: variety of life across ALL levels of organization
○ There are taxonomic levels (kingdom, phylum, class, etc)
○ There are ecological levels
■ Genes → populations → subspecies → communities → ecosystems
● Biological Species
○ This is a concept that states that groups of actually or potentially interbreeding
individuals are of the same species
● Populations
○ All organisms of the same species, which live in a particular geographical area,
and have the capability of interbreeding
● Community
○ Group of interacting species, whether through predation, competition, or
● How is ecosystem functioning defined?
○ It is defined as the flow of energy and materials through the arrangement of biotic
and abiotic components of an ecosystem
■ Includes processes such as primary production, trophic transfer from
plants to animals, nutrient cycling...etc
○ Ecosystem functioning includes two components
■ Resource dynamics
■ Ecosystem stability
● Biodiversity and Productivity
○ Functional groups → C3 grass, C4 grass, legumes, forbs…
● Biodiversity and Ecosystem Stability
○ Increasing diversity can increase ecosystem stability
● Background Extinction Rate
○ Known as normal extinction rate → standard rate of extinction in earth’s
geological and biological history before humans became a primary
contributor to extinctions
○ Pre human extinction rates during periods in between major extinction events
○ You can estimate this using fossil data and molecular phylogenies
● Mass Extinction: times when the Earth loses more than 75% of its species in a
geologically short interval
○ There were 5 mass extinctions
○ Each lasted a few million years
○ Loss of up to 95% of marine species
○ Recovery took millions of years
● How to predict future extinction rates?
● What are the major causes of biodiversity loss? How important is each? To what taxa and
○ 88% attributes to habitat destruction and degradation
○ 46% non native species
○ 20% pollution
○ 14% overharvest
○ 2% disease
○ Habitat loss and degradation effects species in this order: terrestrial →
freshwater → marine
○ Florida panther is a case study; they had poor health...deformities caused by
inbreeding...being pushed into an unsuitable habitat
○ Non native species examples → zebra mussels taking up space of native
ones...chestnut blight caused by pathogenic fungus
○ Invasive grass species on the West Coast that influences SF Bay
ecosystems...converts mud flats to meadow ecosystems, eliminates habitats, and
pushes other species towards extinction
○ Pollution → harms salamander eggs..change in PH of water that makes it hard
for organisms like frogs..crayfish..etc to thrive
○ Overharvest → ex. Passenger pigeon, collapse of Atlantic cod stocks
○ Disease → Higher rates of infection contributed by agricultural and human
advance into wildlife
○ Contributing to the spread of disease: agricultural advance into wildlife: habitat
fragmentation, high local densities of wild ducks and waterfowl, increased travel
in humans, higher chicken density in modern agriculture
● Multiple causes of biodiversity loss interact!
○ Additive → independent
○ Antagonistic → one decreases susceptibility to other
○ Synergistic → one increases susceptibility to other
The Science of Climate Change
→ What is the IPCC and what is its role in climate change and our understanding of it?
● Intergovernmental Panel → established in 1988, its role is to access literature relevant
to the understanding of risks of human induced climate change
● Draw a diagram to explain the greenhouse effect
● Climate Change: a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the
climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period
● What is radiative forcing?
○ Radiative forcing, or climate forcing is the difference between insolation
absorbed by the Earth and energy radiated back to space. The influences that
cause changes to the Earth’s climate system altering Earth’s radiative equilibrium,
forcing temperatures to rise or fall, are called climate forcings.
○ Radiative forcing happened between 1750 and 2011
● Describe the role in climate warming of: (and what do each consist of?)
○ Solar radiation:
○ Aerosols: they scatter and absorb solar radiation, affect cloud cover. Volcanoes
are natural sources; human sources are fossil fuel contamination, particulate
matter, etc.
○ Albedo: determines the reflection of solar radiation, natural influences are cloud
cover, snow cover, vegetation cover. Human influences are land use change
○ Greenhouse gases: they allow sunlight to enter the atmosphere freely; when
sunlight strikes the Earth’s surface, some of it radiates back towards space as
infrared radiation. The gases trap the heat in the atmosphere
● What determines how much different greenhouse gases contribute to climate warming?
What are the top three important greenhouse gases?
○ CO2, methane, nitrous oxide
● What are model uncertainty and scenario uncertainty, and how do they relate to climate
change? Give an example
○ Scenario uncertainty: how much greenhouse emissions will occur
○ Model uncertainty: in the climate, given a specific amount of greenhouse gases
● Describe climate change on hydrosphere
○ Sea ice → very likely thickness has decreased since 1980s
○ Sea level rise since the 1970s
○ Precipitation → likely increase in some areas; varies by region
Climate Policy - Week 11
→ Why is climate change a common pool resource problem?
● Also called a public resource problem → why? Because any jurisdiction that takes
action to reduce greenhouse gases incurs the cost of its actions
● Benefits are distributed locally; it’s a global problem
● For most jurisdictions, the benefits of individual experience are less than the cost it incurs
in reducing greenhouse gases, but global social benefits are larger than global social costs
→ What are examples of non market and market policy tools for addressing climate change?
● To recap, there are three general solutions to the CPR problems:
○ Command and control regulation → give one central authority control over
the resource and allow it to make laws that govern the issue
■ Examples are CAFE restrictions
○ Market based: make the resource private property. Assign rights to the resource to
people and allow them to use their property in the way they find most beneficial
■ Government is still the backbone
■ Examples are cap and trade and taxes
○ Community based: establish shared norms, languages, values, and mechanisms
for collective decision making so people can work together to care for the
■ Requires no government
■ Examples are international treaties, municipal climate change policies
● What is a co-benefit and why is it important in motivating climate change solutions?
● Notes on CAFE
Stands for corporate average fuel economy
Manufacturers must meet this standard under the Energy Policy Conservation Act
Benefits: can save more than 3 million barrels of oil per day by 2030
Will reduce carbon emissions and take trucks off the road
Consumer savings are estimated at 140 billion by 2030
Costs: will increase the price of cars
People will hold on to their older vehicles
May lead to more fatalities in traffic, people required to make their cars lighter
Harm to the US auto industry → US manufacturers have not met standards or
barely met, japanese cars have very much exceeded the standards
○ Auto jobs expected to decline because buyers will buy less vehicles
● How CAFE works:
○ Multiple vehicle wheelbase by average track width → this is the footprint size
○ Use this information to establish max feasible fuel economy standards for
passenger vehicles
● Proposed solutions
○ Reduce vehicle mile traveled by increasing the price per mile
○ How? Gasoline tax, national economy wide carbon policy
○ Advantage with economy wide → can price the carbon content of fuels in
other sectors and not just in transportation
● CO2 Tax
○ Set a CO2 price that is proportional to carbon content of fuel
○ What are implications? Cost of addressing policy are known, and the amount of
emissions are unknown...really depends
○ The GOOD: would cut emissions and raise annual revenues, fixes emission
prices, and revenue can be recycled by the cutting of other taxes like income taxes
○ The BAD: will the federal government handle this effectively and efficiently?
Gasoline taxes may be regressive...who is hurt the most?
● Cap and Trade
○ The GOOD: emissions are controlled directly, freedom for the market to
determine the appropriate price...rather than the government
○ Auctioning creates revenue
○ The BAD: cost of emission reductions are up to the government...more restrictive
caps have higher prices
○ Potential for abuse and manipulation
● Cap and Trade vs the Carbon Tax
○ Concerning EMISSIONS: with cap and trade, declining emissions cap set by
government, carbon tax → emission volume based on MARKET
○ Concerning PRICE → price is based on market for cap and trade, for carbon
tax the rising price is set by the GOVERNMENT
● What is an offset?
○ Greenhouse gas offsets are generated by the reduction, avoidance, or
sequestration of GHG emissions from a specific project
■ They offset GHGs that would have been emitted into the atmosphere
■ Reductions are achieved outside the capped sector:
● Planting trees and counting amount of carbon they supress
● Restore wetlands
● Retrofitting a developing country factory to emit less
■ Popular for they can restore degraded lands and protect endangered
species, can be cost effective
■ Are they allowed as credits in a cap and trade program?
● Describe climate change policies at the local, state, and national level
○ These are all community based approaches
■ Local Government
● International Council for Local Government Initiatives → helps
governments to formulate plans, more than 600 cities
● More than 1000 mayors pledge to cut carbon emissions
■ State Level
● At least 17 states have GHG reduction targets, this is 45% of the
US population and 30% US GHG emissions
● They have action plans and inventories
■ National:
● Kyoto Protocol...Copenhagen Accord..Interim COPS
● UNFCCC provide a framework for negotiation
● Conference of parties..COP meet annually
● Kyoto Protocol sent binding limits to reduce GHG emissions (not
on developing countries)
● Develop national policies, participate in emission trading
programs, partner with others
■ Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement
● The Paris Agreement aimed to create a legally binding, universal
agreement to address climate change...create a treaty
○ Countries are committed to set their own targets for
emission reduction by 2020
○ Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the
Paris Agreement
○ Every country in the world has signed except US
● What is the U.S stance with respect to the Paris agreement?
○ Trump wants to get out or renegotiate
○ Analysis suggested that these plans will allow temperatures to rise about 3 C
● Pros and Cons
○ Many people have critiqued the Paris agreement; NASA scientist states that
everything is an empty promise as there is no action stated. Fossil fuels can and
will continue to be burned as long as it is the cheapest option
○ Ben Plumber, a VOX reporter, states that the Paris agreement is more of a
monitoring asset than anything
○ The Economist → states that this agreement signifies the end of the fossil fuel
age and will hopefully give investors the initiative to phase out fossil fuels “
most important is the signal it sends to investors”
○ Scholar states that this deal creates space for action..something that policymakers
and economists can use
Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation, and Resilience
● How is climate change affecting the hydrosphere?
○ Changes in precipitation
● Are cyclones increasing because of climate change?
● How do organisms respond to climate change?
○ Movement, Acclimation, and Genetic Adaptation
○ Acclimation is reversible changes, involved phenotypic plasticity
■ Example: heat shock proteins
■ Changing periods of daily activity
● What aspects of climate change could influence agriculture?
○ 1-2 increase mean that Northern latitudes are likely to experience increases on
crop productivity, but TROPICAL areas are likely to experience a decrease
○ 3 degrees means ALL REGIONS experience declines
● Why are there different yield changes in low to high latitudes?
○ Strong negative effects of climate change at higher levels of warming and LOW
latitudes, nitrogen stress = more severe impact
○ Reason: limits in local temperature changes?
● Why are nitrogen and CO2 levels relevant to crop responses?
● What is the difference between adaptation and mitigation?
○ Adaptation is effort to limit vulnerability, we don’t really deal with the underlying
○ Mitigation is dealing with the underlying cause itself; the effort to limit the
magnitude of climate change through
■ Emission reduction
■ Geoengineering, which is using technology for offsetting
○ Graphs: 2100 → assuming current adaptive capacity and no mitigation efforts
→ mexico, south america, parts of Africa will be EXTREMELY vulnerable
○ USA → Severe
○ With BOTH enhanced adaptive capacity and mitigation efforts to stabilize CO2 at
550 ppm, most places will have modest to moderate vulnerability
● Three factors that determine vulnerability:
○ Note: there are MANY dimensions to vulnerability: human, social, financial,
natural, political
■ Function of DEGREE of exposure to climate change impacts,
SENSITIVITY to those impacts, and CAPACITY to seize adaptation
opportunities and manage negative impacts
■ Examples: (Human) lack of mobility due to physical disability and age
preventing evacuation from natural disaster
■ (Physical) Poorly designed or maintained infrastructure can risk collapse
■ (Natural) People who live on steep hillsides risk erosion
■ (Social)Inadequate participation of marginalized groups in community
networks = underserved during disaster
■ (Financial)Little to no savings = cannot recover from disaster
■ (Political) Poor access to government services
● Adaption Components
○ prevention/reduce exposure
■ example→ raise embankments so floodwaters do not breach
■ Raise wells so they don’t get contaminated
■ Improve drainage
○ Preparedness
■ Enhance capacity to respond to a disaster
■ Make sure community members have boats and know how to swim
Increase adaptive capacity
■ Establish community foundation and train community leaders
Reduce sensitivity
■ Ruins crops? Then diversify economic opportunities
■ Embrace flood reliant crops
Adaptation Best Practices
■ Involve ALL key stakeholders
■ Monitor and assess adaptation activities
■ Ensure social and cultural customs are considered
■ Ensure vulnerable groups are represented
■ Intentional manipulation of environment on a global scale
■ Aims to offset warming
■ Example: carbon capture → captured, compressed, liquified
■ Pumped underground to form limestone
■ Mimics natural processes → only economical when applied to large
point sources
Another: air capture where artificial super trees are planted
Made reflective means they enhance albedo
Very energy intensive however and can be difficult to scale
Solar radiation management: reduce shortwave radiation at Earth’s
surface; increase albedo OR decrease amount of solar radiation that is
received by introducing sulphate aerosols
Cons: cause acid rain and pollution
More cons: ongoing ocean acidification (does not address), and it allows
us to emit more, if we stop then there is danger
Lots of unintended consequences
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