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Political%20Science%201G06%202013%20I%20Lecture%207a%20overhead%20environment.doc

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Department
Political Science
Course
POLSCI 1G06
Professor
Todd Alway
Semester
Fall

Description
Political Science 1G06 2013 Lecture 7a The Politics of the Environment According to many commentators, the earth is currently experiencing multiple environmental crises: - Greenhouse Effect: - Ozone Depletion- thinning over the course of the past fifty year, cause is man made- CFC (chloroform carbons) - Species Depletion Human activity has been identified as a primary cause of these environmental crises: At the most basic level, consider Population growth: - Linear – constant amount being added year after year - Geometric (exponential) growth- constant proportion being added every year - Increasing 1.2%/year - By 2050 between 8 and 11B people in the world - This raises several questions with respect to the environment: - 1. How will all these new people be fed without overrunning the natural environment? - 2. What impact will 11 Billion consumers have on the environment? Environmental issues are political issues, not merely scientific issues: - Because human impact is the cause of the environmental problem, any solution is definitively a political issue 1. Why is Population growth a political issue? - Population growth is not even throughout the world - 86% of global population growth is concentrated in the underdeveloped world - Northern tendency to blame the South for over-procreating - By contrast, many developing country governments have noted a correlation between high birth rates and poverty - Lower poverty and you will lower birth rates 2. Environmental agreements are also political issues: - Who should pay the costs associated with environmental cleanup? - Some principles being advocated from the less-developed world: - 1. “Polluter pays principle” - 2. Principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” - 3. Concern with avoiding redirection of existing developmental resources What to do? - How do we avoid destroying the environment, while respecting the reality of competing political goals? 1 - Mainstream (liberal) environmentalists conceptualize the problem as being one of “public goods” “Tragedy of
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