ENVI 230 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-100: James Hansen, Environmental Degradation, Environmental Policy

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Environmental Politics and Policy - Rosenbaum
Chapter 1: After Earth Day
Fracking
An evolving technology → special tools used to capture resources locked in deep
sedimentary layers
Contested environmental impacts → health risks and ecological damage
Politics: Neighbor against neighbor, government versus government → royalty
income for property owners sets neighbors against each other
The Environmental Legacy
Impressive improvements of the nation's air quality
Pollutants of waterways have been reduced
US is committed to numerous regional and international treaties
But the environment still remains significantly degraded
The Evolution of American Environmentalism
1970s → the environmental decade
Presidencies from Nixon→ Reagan→ Bush→ Obama
Ongoing challenges: Present and Future
Environmentalism is no longer “contemporary” → we need to maintain envi
issues as a priority
Rising costs
Evolving science and technology
Sustainable development and Ecosystem management
Presidential election of Obama & environmental history from the 1970s
Chapter 2: Making Policy- The Process (Jan 26)
The White house and the Greenhouse
Bush administration downplayed info concerning global warming
Controlled the flow of scientific information from NASA → “good science cannot
exist in na atmosphere of intimidation”
James Hansen (from NASA) confronted Bush administration about this
Policy making is a process (Hansen controversy proves this)
Involves a number of related decisions originating from different institutions and
actors ranging across the whole domain of the fed govy and private institutions
Envi policy = volatile mix of politics and science
Policy Cycle
Policies usually develop with predictability
Governmental agenda
Agenda setting
Constitutional constraints
Checks and balances, organized interests (interest groups!!), regulatory
federalism (national vs state),
Incrementalism
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Relying on past experience as a guide for new policies
Environmentalism and its critics
Public interest or self interest?
Voters environmental values and their candidate preferences
surges of public interest about the environment rise in the aftermath of widely
publicized environmental disasters
Special place of science in policy making
In law and politics → data becomes weapons
Science adds new elements to environmental legislature. Environmental
degradation is a 21st century problem, resolved with 18th century rules
(fundemental government arrangements like checks and balances, interest
groups, and federalism)
Chapter 3: Making Policy- Institutions and Politics (Jan 26)
Presidential leadership in environmental affairs requires the ability to bargain and
compromise with congress, shape public opinion
Constitutional powers → President can propose and veto legislation, draft a
budget for congress, appoint a cabinet, etc
Surprise and crisis impact presidential actions
Congress has much authority over what president may or may not propose
Too much checks, too little balance
Localism → legislators protect their local constituents interests, which weakens
their sensitivity to national needs
Bureaucracy
Competitiveness, dispersed authority, division/overlapping of responsibility for
environmental programs
EPA
All of the nation's environmental problems can be solved → the greatest challenge
to environmental policy making is finding the governmental, economic, and
cultural arrangements to achieve the environmental ends. This chapter illuminates
the less-obvious dimension of the nation's environmental difficulties
institutional and economic obstacles to implementing envi policy effectively.
Excessive congressional control of agencies implementing envi policy and
federalism competition and confusion are difficulties
Chapter 4: Common Policy Challenges- Risk Assessment and Environmental Justice (Feb. 7)
Modern technology→ power to alter the future ecosphere through depletion of
fossil fuels, long-lived hazardous substances, redesign of genetic materials in
human reproduction. We have the power to completely destroy Earth’s conditions
for future societies centuries after ours. New ability to develop technologies,
manufacture new substances, and deplete resources. Future generations are
going to have to deal with the costs and cleanup. Nuclear wastes currently cannot
be recycled → we must find a safe and reliable way to dispose of the growing
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