<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Individual standards

First, we discuss a kind of policy applied to individual people or companies called a technology standard    . Pollution and resource degradation result from a combination of human activity and the characteristics of the technology that humans employ in that activity. Behavior can be difficult to monitor and control. Hence, lawmakers have often drafted rules to control our tools rather than our behaviors. For example, automakers are required to install catalytic converters on new automobiles so that cars have lower pollution rates, and people in some parts of the country must use low-flow showerheads and water-efficient toilets to try to reduce water usage.

Technology standards have the great advantage of being easy to monitor and enforce; it is easy for a regulator to check what pollution controls are in the design of a car. Under some circumstances technology standards can reduce pollution and the rate of natural resource destruction, but they have several serious limitations. First, they provide no incentives for people to alter elements of their behavior other than technology choice. Cars may have to have catalytic converters to reduce emissions per mile, but people are given no reason to reduce the number of miles they drive. Indeed, these policies can sometimes have perverse effects on behavior. Early generations of water-efficient toilets performed very poorly; they used fewer gallons of water per flush, but people found themselves flushing multiple times in order to get waste down the pipes. Thus, these standards are neither always efficient nor cost effective. Second, technology standards are the worst policy in the toolkit for promoting technological innovation. Firms are actively forbidden from using any technology other than the one specified in the standards. Automakers might think of a better and cheaper way to reduce air pollution from cars, but the standard says they have to use catalytic converters.

A second type of policy applied to individual agents is called a performance standard    . Performance standards set strict limits on an outcome of human activity. For example, in order to meet the NAAQSs, state EPA offices set emission standards for air pollution sources in their states. Those standards limit the amount of pollution a factory or power plant can release into the air, though each source can control its pollution in any way it sees fit. The limits on pollution are the same for all sources of a given type (e.g., power plant, cement factory, etc.). Performance standards are also used in natural resource regulation. For example, because stormwater runoff causes flooding and harms aquatic habitat, the city of Chicago requires all new development to be designed handle the first inch of rainfall in a storm onsite before runoff begins.

To enforce a performance standard the regulator must be able to observe the outcome of the agents' activities (e.g. measure the pollution, estimate the runoff). If that is possible, these policies have some advantages over technology standards. Performance standards do give people and firms some incentive to innovate and find cheaper ways to reduce pollution because they are free to use any technology they like to meet the stated requirements. Performance standards are also more efficient because they give people and firms incentives to change multiple things about their activity to reduce the total cost of pollution abatement; a power plant can reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by some combination of installing scrubber technology, switching to low-sulfur coal, and reducing total energy generation.

Questions & Answers

What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply
Practice Key Terms 8

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Sustainability: a comprehensive foundation. OpenStax CNX. Nov 11, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11325/1.43
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Sustainability: a comprehensive foundation' conversation and receive update notifications?