POL208Y1 Study Guide - Quiz Guide: Global Brain, 2Degrees, Scientific Community

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6 Mar 2011

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March 1st
First Lecture After Reading Week
When it comes to the environment, If you don’t coordinate not only do you miss the global
solution, you could make it worse
The only global agreement is about limiting the rise in temperature--avoiding the worst case
scenario--rise in global temp above 2 degrees
But the very issue can be dealt with domestically
Climate change-winners and losers
Climate change there are winners and losers
Low islands--rise in temp. Can trigger threatened existence
After failure of copenhagen, gov. Of very small low land countries started to try and buy land
elsewhere etc
Sweden in contrast would have everything to gain--they have arable land rising
Winner and losers-the incentive to find a solution are vastly different
Asymmetry in vulnerabilities
Asymmetry of responsibility
Undeniable that developed nations carry a greater burden for greenhouse gases
North rather than south is culprit
Diff. To ask developing countries to undertake the same level of efforts while the actual
contribution to the problem in minimal if we are taking into account the records of the last
Responsibility for past behaviour and the consciousness of future
Climate change is long term problem
Long term prospect-difficulties to find solution--long term problem diff. Incentive for short
term action
Politicians have a different clock--about being elected--their time framework is only 4-5 years
Bureaucracies tend to do what they did yesterday, since problem is long term, it favours
Markets don’t respond well to long term issue
Diff. In price in oil is mostly triggered by sudden events rather than taking into account a long
term project
Human beings not very well fitted to think beyond our lifetime experience
Diff. Computing problems that other generations will encounter
The nature of the explanation
Climate change prospects--its case rests on very complex statistical projection
Models complex and disputed
Scientific community some disagreement on impact of CO2 emissions and climate change
Linear projection--current tendencies projected on long term, but tendencies aren’t linear; ie:
reports in sixties made predictions that didn’t take into account advances in tech since etc
Problems that are huge can disappear ie: over a hundred years ago--problem of horse poop on
streets of city being overwhelming--invent streetcars, no longer problem
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Black swan--new technologies we might not know about etc
Technology that can solve the problem
In next decades, 5-10% of cars will probably be electric, 20 years ago we didn’t have this
Climate change triggers us to think about problem of global governance
Confrontation btw a world of states versus human population
This diff. Encounter so far has lead to national approaches rather than global solutions
Could be summed up in a way that underlines the unfulfilled promise of sustainable
List in textbook of most important stepping stones
1- has been a success and could lead the way to management of climate change in future
Story is an interesting one b/c it reveals same patterns we can see today about clima. Chan
Starts with some scientific evidence that CFC triggering holes in ozone, triggering health risks
ie: skin cancer
The companies using CFC said this is rubbish, this is science fiction--corporate sector
defending its own activities connection to CFC
But scientific evidence started to increase
National gov. Started to take action ie: state made companies replace cfc production with
something else
After some national policies, it moved to the national level
Took roughly 15 years to achieve that global result
Discrepancy btwn north and south is the same as now for climate change
South-given more time and money to manage this issue
Overall, this was successful- hole in ozone, mostly disappeared
Shows solutions are achievable
Litany of reports dealing with climate change issues
1987--Our common future--report
Attempt to combine inequality of development in world with environmental issues
Statement was-our development is not only unjust it is unsustainable
We would need capacity of 2 or 3 planet earths if we continue same pace of development
Fairness btwn rich and poor and fairness between generation
That report led to the AGENDA 21 after the summit in Rio in 1992
Tone of the Rio meeting was definitely green
Estimates were provided and they looked very bleak
One was about demographic changes:
Growth of pop would take place mostly in developing countries
Urbanization trend would become unmanageable
Increase in pop will trigger unsustainable pressure on food and oil resources
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The threshold on resources will be broken-that will lead to political tension abotu land water,
could lead to conflict
The report of 2006 underlined the same problem
At the end of the day, climate change is a problem of peace
Climate change if not tackled, will trigger conflict
Ex. On this prediction--the average epr. Capita consumption of meat increased form 60 kilos
per year in 1990 to 93 kilos in 2003--developed country; in Brazil-27-82 kilos per capita
The prod. Of one kilogram of beef requires 15,000 L of water
Development changes global food patterns
No wonder that the price of food is rising
16 of the most polluted cities in the world are in china
China in last 5 years have invested massively in some green technology
Per capita use of water everywhere gone up by a lot too
In 2000 half a bill. Ppl. Live in countries with chronic shortages of water
Projected that by 2050 75% of global pop. Could face shortages of water
Agriculture=75% os water use
Subsidies of agriculture are a big problem/waste--but nobody willing to discuss this
If you combine problem of sustainable devlep. And climate change, the picture becomes bleak
Rising levels of oceans
Change in climate patterns due to changes in gulf streams
Coastal areas will be submerged ie: bangladesh
Many animals being affected
Mill. Of species will be threatened by climate change
Next, disease
Malaria now expanding into areas where previously temperatures were too low, b/c of change
in temp, disease spread easier
Next, change in agricultural production--diff. Rainfall patterns etc--all this will change how we
do agriculture--in some places these changes will interact with increased air pollution to further
decline crop productivity...but to other regions will gain
Changes in water availability will drastically modify rainfall, riverflows etc--some regions
depend heavily on these flows and patterns ie: nile, areas of asia that depend on monsoon,
glaciers will provoke flooding and water problems once gone
Oceans--climate change will change the acidity of layer of ocean--could risk life cycle of the
ocean--plankton production to fisheries--impact can be profound
Last week- UN report about fishing--human kind is overfishing
Climate change and sustainable devl. We see is a very serious problem indeed
If there is a consensus about the problem, the consensus about how to tackle it is much slower
The core is the emergence of environmental issues at the international political level
Disaster raising the concern and significance of the problem
Disaster often man made rather than consequence of climate change ie: oil spills etc
These trigger rise in global consciousness about these problems
Trigger some responses to climate change and sustainable development
We always tend to act AFTER a disaster rather than before
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