2012-11-20 Environmental Policies and Regulation.docx

7 Pages

Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 2137
Cameron Harrington

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Environmental Policies and Regulation November 20, 2012 The Role of Government and Politics  Environmental problems=political problems  Environmental protection and sustainable development require diverse actions from individuals and institutions  Approaches like recycling, energy efficiency, pollution prevention, all require government coordination Democracy, Politics, Environmental Policy  Public policies fill gap between millions of individual actions  Establish limits on choices, provide incentives  Democratic politics is rarely easy, always filled with conflict  Role of citizens?  Lack of information  Response to required changes in lifestyles? -public policy establishes limits by providing incentives or regulations -public policy done in a socially progressive way, socially acceptable way -main goal of public policy -democratic decision makingcrucial in making successful environmental policy -democracy is messywe all have different viewpoints -each of us have different interests, viewpoints, ethical standpoints -how do we reach consensus? -democracy seems to be a giant mess of individual interest trying to reach agreement -e.g. science vs. politics: people have different viewpoints -democracy seen as vital institution trying to give people equal voice and equal weight -but hardcore environmentalists question democracy: whether problems we face in environment are so great that it requires immediate action and cannot wait for democracy to catch up -if we have continued public involvement (or facade), it can take years, decades, centuries to solve the problems head on -as we move into 21 century, people think whether democracy is the right way to manage the environment -governments actually going to lay the groundwork that will fundamentally change the lifestyle of the people? -there are many people that say that no amount of government or regulation or economy or environment will get into the heart of the problem -needs restructuring of lifestyle -conventional politics won’t work -democratic processes unable to deal with problem -environmental awareness has been rising since the 1960s -continue to do so Over generations, we are becoming more attuned and aware of the changes around us -we recognize the changes we need to make to make a difference Public Policy Responses Public Policy: “a course of government action in response to social problems; what governments do about these problems.” Environmental policy: diverse collection of statutes, regulations, court precedents. - Both what governments do and do not do. -government is crucial -reflection of collective decision-making: democracy -if we make collective decision to pursue certain political objective, democracy is a tool to get us there -Canadian environmental policyall things that govern the nation: it’s constantly shifted, changed, overthrown by attitudes and beliefs -environmental policy: not just what a government does -*it can be something that government don’t do* -it can promote something against environment..? -by choosing not to pursue a specific type of issue, it can shift to non-governemntal actors -it can change the shape of the issue -government doesn’t have overarching environmental issue -leaving other actors to shape the issues of NorthAmerica -leaves decisions on what energy we have or will have in the hands of individuals and corporations -idea of public policy being reflection of what governments do and don’t do: e.g. Canada’s decision to pull out of Kyoto -by signing it, ratifying it, failing to live up to its obligation: Canada sending an important message out in the world and to the country of the nation’s position on climate change -reflection of what the government choose to ignore  Different sets of tools to employ  Regulation vs. Incentive-based approaches  Market-based  Information disclosure  Public-private partnerships -if we are going to manage the environment, we will need government -government: essential component of environmental management -federal government, state government, municipal government -governments have different tools in terms of policy making -regulations or incentives -taxation or subsidies -funding for research in a particular issue -dissemination of information (education tools), purchasing of goods by government, incubation of public and private partnerships -ubiquitous tool: regulation -regulation seen to be most advantageous in creating environmental sustainability -a little bit too old school and ineffective today -command and control aspect is dwindling away now -we have hybrid models of combining control and incentives now -hybrid levels in terms of which government is in charge; federal government working together with provincial government -turning to technology and research -coming up with solutions to try to solve problems -governments have huge purchasing power -if government decided to buy only hybrid vehicles, it would have a huge impact on the levels of emissions that the country is producing/emitting Measuring Public Policy  How do we measure/determine “success?”  What solutions hold the greatest promise?  Effectiveness  Justice  How do we assess the deluge of information? -there has to be other considerations to measure public policy -the role of justice -for some people, social justice is integral -environmental policies marginalize groups -distribution of environmental costs is disproportionately.... -environmental risk -poor neighbourhoods and neighbourhood slums: relate back to environmental justice -does it deal with systemic inequality? -when governments look at government policy, they have to look at policy in question -what constitutes water policy? Water security? -do they meet the targets they specify? Are there targets at all? -effective? -environment is incredibly complex -overwhelming sense of daily information -seems like we have too much information; other hand, there isn’t enough information to satisfy all the questions we have -all of these things factor in our measurement of policy Making Environmental Policy -how do governments make public policy related to environment? -e.g. Case study: clean energy and security act -passed in US in 2009 -June 2009: US House of Representatives voting 219-212 to pass landmark legislation on climate change -Obama: bold and necessary; aggressively combat climate change and energy use and therefore minimize carbon footprint -this passage of bill was essenti
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