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Enviro politics lecture.docx

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Political Science
POLS 3370
Ajay Sharma

Environmental Politics Public Perceptions and the Impact of the Media Targeting the Policy Process - Agenda setting - key setting in the policy process - sets the trajectory of policy - interests are institutionalized Agenda setting: broad overview - Recognition of problem by government - Individuals and groups vying for attention of public officials and policy makers - Demands and interests are articulated by lobbyists Agenda setting: key questions: - How are decisions made? - How does a government respond to preliminary demands? - How are demands articulated? * don’t over-theorize Theoretical perspectives on public involvement - Two primary approaches: - Liberalism - Elitism Liberal approach to public participation - Dominant approach in a democracy - Clear theoretical chain of progress Agenda setting cycle: Liberalism - Policy agenda  voter preferences  media exposure and lobbyists  elected representatives  Elitist Approach to public participation - Closed-door approach - can shut out other government entities - Apathetic population - Limited attention cycle - Kyoto, 2008/09 - Reduced levels of public involvement - complete opposite of the US Alternative Agenda setting typologies - Key actors - State - Market - Society - Key question - How do the interests of these 3 actors converge? - converge in many different ways to form different policy outcomes The State - Federal/provincial government - The executive - Elected legislatures - The judiciary - The bureaucracy - Unitary vs. Federal systems Agenda Setting and the State - Political grandstanding - Allows one level of government/party/politician to blame another for a series of issues - Public inquiries - Environmental taskforces Public Inquiries - Discretion of government - Impacts multiple ministries and governments - Subject to political, economic, and social pressures - Examples: - Oil sands Environmental Taskforces - Discretion of government - Planning, consultation, conflict resolution - Response to environmental conflict between different groups and interests - Examples: - Toronto Island Airport, Downsview Park, Toronto Waterfront The Market - Campaign contributions - More prevalent in the US - Lobbying - Advertising Society - Pre and post-industrial age dynamics - Economic diversification - Rising levels of education and affluence - Post-materialism - Impact of NGOs Non-government organizations - Greenpeace - Suzuki Foundation - Sierra Legal Defence Fund - Canadian Environmental Law Association NGOs in Action - Petitions - Protests - Civil Disobedience - Parliamentary Deputations NGOs Strategies - The role of dual politics - Indirect/direct impact - Public oriented activism - Key barriers to effective action - Access to the political process - Education now plays a key role Relative Levels of Influence - Utopian vs. Realistic Scenario - Utopian: Society has the dominant say - Realistic: Market has the dominant say, society has the smallest Politics Responding to the Market - Governments are more attuned to the needs and principles of the market - Reduction of environmental standards - Walkerton - Regionalism - Alberta, Oil and Kyoto - Uncertainty of scientific fact - Economy takes precedent: tangible NGOs and Public Education - Education provides a feedback loop - Policy concerns articulated to public - Increased public support for new environmental initiatives - Increased levels of mobilization - Greater political influence through electoral success Three Waves of Environmentalism - First wave: postwar era, 1950s onwards - Second wave: mid-to-late 80s - Third wave: 2000-present From Conservation to Environmentalism - Conservation movement - Protection of habitat and wilderness - Environmental movement: - Three spheres of concern - Pollution - Biodiversity - Sustainability Origins of North American Environmental Policy - Boundary Waters Treaty, 1909 - Canada-US agreement for great lakes governance - Migratory Bird Convention, 1916 - Canada-Us Agreement North American Policy Initiatives - Yellowstone National Park, 1872 - Promoted conservation - Banff National Park, 1885 - Promoted tourism and the national rail system First Wave of Environmentalism - Postwar era - Questioned the implications of an emergent consumer-oriented culture - Implications of urbanization and suburbanization The Implications of hyper-consumerism - Economic property didn’t lead to environmental benefits - Human health concerns - Policy makers forced to address environmental problems - great lakes pollution - industrial regulations From Conservation to Environmentalism -Urban Concerns - Housing development - Traffic infrastructure - Human health - Politicized process - Government had to be interventionist - Very hard to be pro-capitalist and pro-environment Prevailing Ideologies of the First Wave - Principles of the industrialized economy are unsuited to prevailing realities - Environmental problems were a result of poor technological choices, not increasing affluence The Emergence of Competing Visions - No alternative but to continue along the established path and adopt environmentally risky technologies to avoid economic collapse - Society needs to abandon industrial society and live in an environment of zero economic and population growth - ‘Path-breaking scenario’ - Western governments argue it’s too expensive to make fundamental changes, but tell developing countries that they have to make fundamental changes The Entrenched Paradigm - North America’s pragmatic approach for economic growth is based on the expansion of green technology, green jobs and a green economy Key Global Events - 1973 Oil Crisis - 1979 Energy Crisis - 1980 National Energy Program (Canada) The 1973 Oil Crisis - Yom Kippur, 1973 - Arab-Israeli conflict - USA assists Israel - OPEC reduces oil exports to the USA - OPEC dictates the price of oil - Price of oil quadruples The 1979 Energy Crisis - Iranian Revolution - Oil exports suspended - Resumed at a lower level - Panic drives up cost of oil - 15.85  39.50 per barrel - Carter doctrine - Energy independence - ability to be self-reliant on own resources The National Energy Program, 1980 - Response to the oil crises - Penalized oil exporters - Schism with Alberta - 3 Policy principles - Security - Opportunity - Fairness - Federal government made it difficult for Alberta to sell its oil to anyone but Ontario and Quebec North American Trade and Environmental Practices - Free Trade Agreement, 1988 - North American Free Trade Agreement, 1994 - Agreement on environmental cooperation - Agreement on labour cooperation First Wave: Key Trends - Decline in energy usage - Public transit - House market - Automotive industry - Trend reverses in 1985 Evolution of the Auto industry - Mini-vans Second Wave of Environmentalism - Protest/confrontation  cooperation/professionalism - Pragmatic environmental pragmatism - Improved interdependence between government, business and NGOs - Greater public concern Key Focusing Events - Love Canal, 1978 - Three Mile Island, 1979 - Bhopal, 1984 - European BSE Crisis, 1986 - Chernobyl, 1986 - Exxon Valdez The Changing Scale of Environmentalism - Issues are international in character - Reflecting the global dynamic - Key issues - Acid rain - Ozone depletion - CFCs - Deforestation of rain forests The Case of Acid Rain in North America - The US-Canada Air Quality Agreement, 1991 - 50% of acid rain in Great Lakes regions coming from the US - Key sources: coal-fired power plants in Ohio and Illinois Key International Treaties - Montreal Protocol, 1987 - Ozone depletion - Changing Atmosphere Conference, 1988 - Climate change - First legit conference on climate change - Discussed the implications of greenhouse gas emissions - Toronto target: any government adopting this measure would commit to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 20% - Kyoto Protocol, 1997 - Climate change Second Wave: Key Trends - Minimal progress on climate and rainforest protection - Global economic recession - Era of severe government cuts - Ontario: ministry of environment - Economy> environment Third Wave of Environmentalism - Era of climate change The Role of the Media: Key Aspects - Influence of the news media on public perceptions - Environmental reporting in newspapers/TV - Accuracy of TV reporting of environmental reporting - Effectiveness of mass media campaigns Barriers to Effective Media Coverage of Environmental Issues - Env issues are complex, technical and emotional - Journalists have little time to understand or explain issues - Oversimplification and pre-determined angles to the story - Poor scientific literacy in journalists and audience/readership, and disagreement among technical experts - Media present only compartmentalized, small parcels of information at one time - Tendency to report only short-term env concerns - Stakeholders often skilled at manipulating media Changing Face of Media - Anyone can have a blog and be an ‘expert’ - Uninformed commentators - Twitter & Facebook - Biggest transformation Judicial Action on Public Policy - Traditionally considered conservative and elitist defenders of privilege - SCC - there to defend economic interest - The legal system wasn’t considered a source of policy innovation - Policy should be left to the politicians and the bureaucracy 1982: Defining moment in Canada Jurisprudence - The Charter Era - massive impact on environmental litigation - individuals and public interest groups turn to litigation to advance policy agendas - Canadian ENV law association - ecojustice - environmental defence - Courts can make public institutions more responsive to their interests Canadian jurisprudence: principles, attitudes, approach - Environmental protection - One of the major challenges of our time - fundamental value in Canadian society - public purpose of superordinate importance - common future of every Canadian economy depends on a healthy environments Key components of environmental justice - precautionary principle - polluter pays principle - intergenerational equity - sustainability and public trust Precautionary principle - Canadian environmental protection act, 1999 Polluter pays principle - Polluters are assigned with the responsibility for remedying contamination for which they’re responsible and imposes on them the direct and immediate costs of pollution - Polluters are asked to pay more attention to the need to protect ecosystems in the course of their economic activities Intergenerational equity - The doctrine of intergenerational equity posits the present generation of humans as simultaneously beneficiaries of the planetary legacy handed down from past generations, and trustees of that legacy for the future Sustainability and Public Trust - Certain natural resources are central to our existence; and that governments must exercise a continuing fiduciary duty to sustain the essence of those resources for the long-term use and enjoyment of the entire populace - Air, freshwater oceans Discretionary standing - Individuals/groups not directly impacted by legislation/decision can mount a legal challenge - introduces an element of unpredictability - Friends of the Earth v. Canada, 2008 - Kyoto protocol implementation act, 2007 - Federal climate change plan, 2007 Intervention - Assist the court in ensuring justice is done - Important in cases that could potentially affect interests beyond those of the immediate parties - The SCC rarely denies applications for intervener status Justiciability - Cases must raise a legal not political issue - Friends of the Earth v Canada, 2008 - Not justiciable - Measures of the KPIA could not be enforced by the Court Forms of legal actions (A) Constitutional and Charter Litigation - Division of powers - Few cases affecting the environment have reached the SCC - Fed/pro legislation consistently upheld - Government scope expanded to address environmental issues - Federal powers gave been generously expanded - R v. Hydro-Quebec, 1997 - Canadian Environmental Protection Act - Toxic substances provision - Traditional meaning of criminal law was expanded to save a regulatory scheme - protection of the environment and human life and health from any and all harmful substances by regulating these substances The environment and the Canadian charter - Few cases under the Charter that relate to the env - Goal of environmental protection has been used as a means to justify infringement of a fundamental freedom - Freedom of expression Montreal v. 2952-1366 Quebec Inc, 2005 - Night club owner challenges Montreal’s noise by-law - Prosecuted for using an outdoor loudspeaker to amplify noise and attract customers - issue of noise pollution - Governments can enact generally-worded statutory prohibitions against pollution and allow the details to be determined by administrators SCC Verdict - Municipal by-law did restrict freedom of expression - However, the by-law was upheld (B) Judicial Review of Administrative Action - Most active area of env litigation - Mechanism for ensuring the accountability of administrative decision-makers Kearl Oil Sands Case, 2008 - Attempt to constrain oil sands development - Challenged federal authority and design of project - CO2 emissions - Project was not stopped or modified, only delayed - Environmental groups cease litigating and pursue other methods Impact of Judicial Action - Endorsement has had little impact on env policy in Canada - Different scenario in the US (C) Civil Actions a. Class actions - Procedural device that allows those affected by pollution to pursue a single legal action - 3 goals: 1. Reduce duplication in proving claims, reduces litigation costs 2. Advancing access to justice 3. Modifying polluters behaviour by ensuring they are more likely to pay the full cost of harmful activity Canadian Class Action Lawsuits - Inco Refinery, Port Colborne - Initiated in 2005 - Inco’s operations were responsible for elevating local nickel levels - Pacific Gas and Electric - Between 1952 and 1966, Chromium was used to fight corrosion in a cooling tower - Wastewater percolated into ground water - Environmental health impact: cancers, birth defects and organ failure - Largest settlement in direct-action lawsuit in US history b. Environmental damages - Can have an important influence on the behaviour of polluters and governments - Trend has been to restrict damages in civil cases - British Columbia v. Canadian Forest Products Ltd, 2004 - Government of BC sought damages caused by a fire to a leased forest of provincial Crown land - Fire fighting, restoration of burned lands, loss of trees that couldn’t be harvested - Additional Cases of Environmental Damages : - Love Canal, 1978 - Hooker Chemical sells land to Niagara Falls School Board - Residential neighbourhoods built on contaminated land - 21,000 tons of toxic waste - School board informed of dangers - Company found negligent in the disposal of waste, not sale of land - Forced to pay $129 million in 1995 - Three Mile Island, 1979 - Partial nuclear reactor core meltdown - Radioactive gases released into the environment - Increased levels of infant mortality in downwind communities two years after the accident - Ecosystem degradation - Cleanup ended in 1993 - $900 million - Individual compensation - $100 million - Bhopal, 1984 - Regarded as world’s worst industrial catastrophe - Chemical gas leak at a Union Carbide plant - Death toll is contested 3,000 – 20,000 - Chemicals from the plant are still entering the water system - 25,000 people impacted daily - Compensation of $470 million – 1999 - Chernobyl, 1986 - Considered worst nuclear power plant accident in history - Nuclear core explosion releases radioactive fuel and materials into atmosphere - Increase in birth defects/cancer - Radioactive materials enter ecosystems - Exxon Valdex, 1989 - oil tanker releases 260,000-750,000 barrels of oil - oil covers 2100 km of coastline and 28000 square km of ocean - Local ecosystem and wildlife devastated - In 1989, compensation stood at $5 billion - 4 billion  2.5 billion  507 million - Deep water horizon
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