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AGNR 301 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: The Coal Question, Wet-Bulb Temperature, Kuznets Curve

Agriculture and Natural Resources
Course Code
AGNR 301
Robert Sprinkle
Study Guide

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Untangling the Environmental Paradox: Human well-being is increasing as ecosystem services are
I. Ecosystem services
A. Provisioning services: food, water, forest
B. Regulating services: changing climate, floods, water quality
C. Cultural services: recreational, spiritual beliefs
D. Supporting services: soil formation, photosynthesis
II. Human well-being
A. Basic materials
B. Health security
C. Good social relations
D. Freedom of choice
E. Freedom of actions
HDI- human development index- measures life expectancy, literacy, education, and per capita GDP
Hypotheses of the environmental paradox:
1. Critical dimensions of human well-being are not being captured adequately b/c
a. Measuring wrong variables, ambiguous trends
b. Data aggregation masks the declines in well-being
2. Food production is more crucial than other ecosystem services for human well-being
3. Technology and social innovation have decoupled human well-being from ecosystem
degradation, and has potential to reduce human vulnerability for future losses
4. Time lag between ecosystem decline and human well-being impacts
a. Limits to resource use, possibility of limits, human adaptation
Forecasting ecosystem services: understand how human demand regulates production of eco services
and predict future ecosystems
1.2 What should sustainability sustain?
I = P*A*T
I= environmental impact
P= population
A= affluence
T= technology
Sustainability is when I stays the same
It is hard to measure these variables
Triple bottom line: economy, society, environment
Maintain or raise society’s HDI score without enlarging its ecological footprint to safeguard our
“ecosystem services” - environmental cost benefit analysis
2014 California water crisis
- Nearly 60% of California faces exceptional drought and has noticeable change in levels of
- No snow in Sierras, Ogallala water aquifer is thin and very important for water supply in U.S.
- Takes a lot of water to go into farming and growing crops/vegetables (as well as raising livestock)
What should we sustain?
> The Present, because we don’t want to lose what we have right now
> The Past
> A recreated idealized condition to be curated in perpetuity, restoration movements
We need to create sufficiency plus a little bit extra for enjoyment and leisure. However, there are
distribution issues but we still need to face these problems
The capacity for people in demographically transitioned societies to improve their lives equitably
within environmental constraints
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Replacement growth rate- 2.3 children (hard for underdeveloped and developing
countries to do because of high fertility rates and infant mortality)
“Within environmental constraints” sharing. Think carefully about relationship between
people and the environment
We need to keep heat stress within adaptability limits and sustain habitability
An environment’s wet bulb temperature- lowest temperature achievable by evaporation of water
Dry bulb temp=wet bulb temp if humidity is 100%
Heat stress is a leading cause of death
1.3 Challenge from Dr. Pangeoss
Human life expectancy is rising even though the environment is deteriorating
Ecosystem services- clean air, forests, services that benefit humans
Calculated with different methodologies from science and economics (difficult because it is very
subjective and can vary between people)
Week 2: 2.1 Environmental economics
The neoclassical economics era dawns with nature still endogenous (Adam Smith)
Can’t satisfy a geometric increase in demand with an arithmetic increase in supply
Shouldn’t try to stop a famine because they are nature’s way of controlling the population
-stated in the equation
-explicitly stated annual energy consumption
increased a lot, wind more
-not stated in equation
-not included in the model
Wind increasing main reason was sailing and increase in power use
Fire energy decreased, and coal increased a ton from 1561 to 1859. Water power increased not much
The Coal Question- the economy is not really directly affected by coal production
Jevons’s Paradox- the efficiency dilemma: increasing energy efficiency is increasing the
productivity of energy. This causes demand to go up for the source
Microeconomists don’t see this though, because individuals are exogenous to their
equations. Macroeconomics is better because it looks at the environment as a whole
Consumption rate of coal is exhausting the coal mines physically, but the coal mines are
economically inexhaustible
Comparative statics- comparing 2 “still” things to one another doesn’t tell you anything about the
history or future of the situation
Growth and full employment- we need to create jobs for people who need them
Markets for non-market goods and services
- Create markets for certain people, try to create artificial markets
- Create market situations to market problems
- Selling emissions credits (cap and trade) applied to sulfur emissions opened coal mining in
2.2 Integrative analysis
Look across sectors: society, culture, economics
The sterile and the living- refers to the distinction between agricultural production and something not living
The exhaustible and renewable
Sustainable natural resource management
How economists see the environment
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