International Environmental Science and
October 29, 2013 Kyoto Protocol
· Though some nations signed the Kyoto Protocol, very little has been done to ensure they
meet the goals. Domestically, no nation actually took it seriously. Is there any value to
· Clean Air Act
o Originally trying to regulate air pollutants that are hazardous to human health (the six
o Has it been successful?
§ The amount of pollutants a car let out is much less than in the past.
§ CAA was not a gradual environmental movement; it was a radical thing that sought out to do
something about the air that was in a critically bad state.
§ Trade-able permits allowed a company to pollute the air, specifically with sulfur dioxide (which
causes acid rain). Why are they made trade-able?
· For economic efficiency; company that can’t afford to improve technology can buy a
permit from another company to pollute.
· For political reasons; the cap and trade was a compromise between the liberals and the
§ It must have worked pretty well because we don’t hear about acid rains that much anymore.
· Montreal Protocol
o There has been an observed degradation of the ozone layer due to release of CFC’s in
aerosols and cooling of refrigerators.
· Massachusetts vs. EPA
o Massachusetts sued EPA because it wasn’t regulating CO2. The court ruled against them
because they found that it is difficult to monitor the effects of CO2.
o The state of Massachusetts brought the case because the state can have more
generalized claim about what climate change has caused (e.g. sea level rise) and therefore has
o There is a problem with showing causation and a connection between CO2 and the harm
that was claimed to be caused. Also, it is not clear that it is specifically the CO2 released in US
is what causes the harm.
o The court said that the EPA has the discretion to do or not do anything about the CO2.
However, it was definitely putting pressure on EPA to come up with a better way to justify why it
is not including CO2 in their regulation.
Negotiations: Moving past our position and exploring new interests in a creative manner.
Ø PAD: Pablo Agricultural Department
Ø BED: Burford Environmental Department Ø UNION: of small farmers in Pablo
Ø FARM: of big farmers in Burford
Ø BIO: Biotech company
Ø EARTH: Environmental NGO
Ø SUSTAIN: organic farming NGO
Ø TRADE: promote free trade
Ø CONSUME: hunger relief in Pablo
· NRDC vs. EPA
o The case is concerned with how scientific uncertainty is applied to air pollution standards
by the EPA
o NRDC challenges how much discretion EPA has in setting standards despite the scientific
o The court rules for EPA.
· Whitman vs. American Trucking Assns., Inc.
o Petitioners are the American Trucking Associations and several States (Michigan, Ohio,
§ They argue that EPA should implement the rules but not be able to make rules.
§ The fact that EPA gives up a role in doing something that was given as a responsibility by the
Congress in a statute is also a problem.
§ The decision was that the use of cost-benefit analysis is okay but only in a way human health
costs are minimal. It is up to the State to determine how this will be done.
o International agreements determine what needs to be done. Country needs to figure out
how to reach the goals domestically. EPA then sets the standards. State makes explicit laws to
meet the standards. Local governments enforce the laws.
Reading notes for Week 10: Oceans and Fisheries
Marine Biodiversity Hotspots and Conservation Priorities for Tropical Reefs by Roberts et. Al
● For all taxa, species richness peaks in the so-called “coral triangle” of Southeast Asia,
then falls off rapidly moving west across the Indian Ocean. In the tropical Atlantic, all
taxa have highest richness in the Caribbean.
● Although most corals are widespread, most lobsters are geographically restricted,most
lobsters are geographically restricted, and fish and snails have roughly equal numbers of
restricted-range and widespread species. This contradicts the view that marine species
are resilient to extinction because of their large geographic range sizes. Hence,
restricted-range species are common in the sea, and widespread reef degradation could
lead to a gathering wave of extinctions. .
● Corals and many other marine organisms with similar morphology conceal substantial
genetic differences, even across regions without obvious barriers to gene flow.
● Extinction risk could be greater than suggested by our findings.
● 18 richest multitaxon centers of endemism have been identified. They include 35.2% of
the world’s coral reefs and cover only 0.028% of the world’s oceans, but include between
58.6 and 68.7% of restricted-range species from the four taxa. ● Timely investment in the protection of threatened centers of endemism could yield good
results. However, adopting a two-prolonged conservation strategy would be better.
Conservation efforts should extend to both marine biodiversity hotspots and reef
“wilderness” areas and must include efforts to mitigate climate change.
● Extending terrestrial conservation efforts seaward in those places offers an effective and
affordable strategy for protecting the planetary biota.
Reversal of the Burden of Proof in Fisheries Management
● What is happening to the hundreds of noncommercial species taken incidentally or by
poaching or ghost fishing by lost or abandoned gear?
● Thousands of square kilometers of benthic habitat and invertebrate communities ahve
been obliterated by trawling, and recreational fishing and poaching have massively
altered many coastal marine communities.
● the damage is so pervasive that it may be impossible ever to know or reconstruct the
ecosystem. In fact, each succeeding generation of biologists has markedly different
expectations of what is natural, because they study increasingly altered systems that
bear less and less resemblance to the former, preexploitation versions.
● Humanity is losing the evolutionary wisdom found in intact ecosystems.