<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Environmental debate

This photo shows a protest against the Keystone XL Pipeline for tar sands at the White House in 2011.
Across the country, countless people have protested, even risking arrest, against the Keystone XL Pipeline. (Credit: modification of image by “NoKXL”/Flickr Creative Commons)

Keystone xl

You might have heard about Keystone XL in the news. It is a pipeline system designed to bring oil from Canada to the refineries near the Gulf of Mexico, as well as to boost crude oil production in the United States. While a private company, TransCanada, will own the pipeline, U.S. government approval is required because of its size and location. The pipeline is being built in four phases, with the first two currently in operation, bringing oil from Alberta, Canada, east across Canada, south through the United States into Nebraska and Oklahoma, and northeast again to Illinois. The third and fourth phases of the project, known as Keystone XL, would create a pipeline southeast from Alberta straight to Nebraska, and then from Oklahoma to the Gulf of Mexico.

Sounds like a great idea, right? A pipeline that would move much needed crude oil to the Gulf refineries would increase oil production for manufacturing needs, reduce price pressure at the gas pump, and increase overall economic growth. Supporters argue that the pipeline is one of the safest pipelines built yet, and would reduce America’s dependence on politically vulnerable Middle Eastern oil imports.

Not so fast, say its critics. The Keystone XL would be constructed over an enormous aquifer (one of the largest in the world) in the Midwest, and through an environmentally fragile area in Nebraska, causing great concern among environmentalists about possible destruction to the natural surroundings. They argue that leaks could taint valuable water sources and construction of the pipeline could disrupt and even harm indigenous species. Environmentalist groups have fought government approval of the proposed construction of the pipeline, and as of press time the pipeline projects remain stalled.

Of course, environmental concerns matter when discussing issues related to economic growth. But how much should they factor in? In the case of the pipeline, how do we know how much damage it would cause when we do not know how to put a value on the environment? Would the benefits of the pipeline outweigh the opportunity cost? The issue of how to balance economic progress with unintended effects on our planet is the subject of this chapter.

Introduction to environmental protection and negative externalities

In this chapter, you will learn about:

  • The Economics of Pollution
  • Command-and-Control Regulation
  • Market-Oriented Environmental Tools
  • The Benefits and Costs of U.S. Environmental Laws
  • International Environmental Issues
  • The Tradeoff between Economic Output and Environmental Protection

In 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Ohio was so polluted that it spontaneously burst into flame. Air pollution was so bad at that time that Chattanooga, Tennessee was a city where, as an article from Sports Illustrated put it: “the death rate from tuberculosis was double that of the rest of Tennessee and triple that of the rest of the United States, a city in which the filth in the air was so bad it melted nylon stockings off women’s legs, in which executives kept supplies of clean white shirts in their offices so they could change when a shirt became too gray to be presentable, in which headlights were turned on at high noon because the sun was eclipsed by the gunk in the sky.”

The problem of pollution arises for every economy in the world, whether high-income or low-income, and whether market-oriented or command-oriented. Every country needs to strike some balance between production and environmental quality. This chapter begins by discussing how firms may fail to take certain social costs, like pollution, into their planning if they do not need to pay these costs. Traditionally, policies for environmental protection have focused on governmental limits on how much of each pollutant could be emitted. While this approach has had some success, economists have suggested a range of more flexible, market-oriented policies that reduce pollution at a lower cost. We will consider both approaches, but first let’s see how economists frame and analyze these issues.

Questions & Answers

what is utility?
Abubakar Reply
utility ordinarily means satisfaction begotten
Razzaq
Utility is the total satisfaction gotten from goods and services after consumption
Vee
Studies have fixed the short-run price elasticity of demand for HPV vaccines at (- 0.25). Suppose that transportation issues lead to a sudden cutoff of vaccine supplies. As a result, supply of HPV vaccine drop 20%. If HVP vaccines were selling for OMR 130 per dose before cutoff, how much of a pric
Sara Reply
helo
Ndinteck
what is price elasticity
Ndinteck
helo
Ajay
how are u,can we talk about some topics
Ndinteck
yes y not
Kum
what is the different between a bank loan and a bank over draft,
Ndinteck
hi
Obed
sorry I don't know
Kum
can you pls help
Kum
Give the three reasons that explain why the division of labor increases an economy’s level of production? It will surely increase because the amount of workers determine the level of work force been applied
Ebenezer Reply
what's the definition for government policy
Ebenezer Reply
Hello
Waseem
hi
Ebenezer
Hi
AKPOTU
How are you
king
am cul n u
Ebenezer
plz d answer to the question
Ebenezer
government policy Government policy is a case of action undertaken by the government or by it's agencies with a sole aim of achieving a particular goal or given end
Abdirahman
hey
Chet
government policy :refers to the action that government take in the economic field. it covers the systems for setting interest rates and government budget as well as the Labour, market, national ownership, and many other area's of government interventions into the economy
king
Nice one bro
Akoh
Thanks
king
hey
what about my definition its better bcos its general unlike this other one that is for economics only
Abdirahman
but here we all ask questions about economics bro
king
i get that but still the question is an open one no one said in Economics
Abdirahman
Hi
Dufie
yeah and your definition is 100% correct definition
king
thanks bro...your answer is perfect too
Abdirahman
Government policy describes a course of action, creating a starting point for change. They can influence how much tax the community pays, immigration status and laws, pensions, parking fines, and even where you go to school. While policies are driven to be non-discriminatory, they can affect specifi
Esther
using the graph illustrate all the types of elascity
Umar Reply
ha
Nathaniel
.
Anjali
Given the budget deficit in recent years, some economists have argued that by adjusting Social Security (SSNIT) payments for inflation using the CPI, SSNIT is overpaying recipients. Discuss the argument being made, and do you agree or disagree with it?
Louis
distinguish between increase in demand curve and extenaion in demamd curve
Farhan Reply
what are the shapes of an indifference curve?
Ovensi Reply
division of labour is simply the breaking of job functions so that each individual is engage to one set or the other for easy delivery
EMMANUEL Reply
What is division of labor
peter Reply
it is also simply the breaking down of work into various part so that each individual is entitle to one for easy delivery
EMMANUEL
it is the simplifying of tasks into smaller easily workable divisions where each person specialises on what they understand better
cabs
ok
EMMANUEL
thanks for your briefing and time
EMMANUEL
What is labour market
Daniel
What is specialisation
Nyaradzai
What is market structure
Peters
What is money and inflation
Peters
What is national income
Peters
money is a kind of exchange medium
konglan
money is something that is a medium of exchange,store of value ,measure of value and a medium of deffered payment
Koushik
inflation is a situation of cont rise in prices over a period of time
Koushik
what are the types of elasticity of demand
Asifat
Elastic and Inelastic demand
Ebenezer
what are the sources of monopoly power?
Winnerman Reply
the first source, are informations
amine
political power and influence in monetary institutions
Shahul
what is imperfect competition ?
SHAH Reply
the situation in which elements of monopoly ( R&D, EOS and stability of prices etc.) allow individual producers or consumers to exercise some control over market prices
Ghulam
how to find shut down
Sowmya Reply
where p is less than avc
Koushik
s
Shahul
which is the best public finance economics text book?
Shahul
hello
shafiullah
hello
Shahul
Yes hi
Pov
....
SHAH
what is inflation
Okosun
excess demand as compare to supply....or when tha actual demand is more than planned demand is called inflation
sj
supply
Matas
demand pull inflation
Martin
Hi
Dufie
hlo
Ebenezer
what is marginal technical rate substitution
Eze
what are the alternatives various of economic system
olaleye Reply
what is microeconomics
Ayedun
Micro-economics refers to the branch of economics which deals with smaller unit or element of the economy.
Amadu
or Is the study of individual economic unit in a economy..
Neriel
micro economis is the studay of how Households and firms make decision and they interecr it.
mahad
what is financial intermediaries?
Imran Reply
financial intermediaries are those who are link between borrowers and lenders for.eg bank... Bank is a financial intermediary
Ajit
tnx a lot of u
Imran
most welcome
Ajit
why do you here ? why do you want to learn economics
Ajit
والله العظيم انا ماعاوز اتعلمها
انا باخدها غصب عني في الكليه حضرتك
لس كدااا
I am student of ecnomics ,
Imran
Imran
Abdi
yes Abdi temam
Imran
am good too see you
Abdi
tnx why not
Imran
b/c im student
Abdi
great, now I am sleeping see u nex time ok
Imran
ok
Abdi
OK
Ajit
what is the law of dimis
Toyin Reply
what is the feature of public ownership of production factors
Toyin
what is the demand for commodity that posses identical utilities called
Toyin
law of diminishing utility...as the quantity consumed of a commodity increases,the utility derived from each successive unit goes on decreasing... condition___ consumption of other commodities remaining the same.
Malik
sorry it's...Law of diminishing marginal utility
Malik
demand for commodities that posses identical utilities? The commodities having identical utilities are perfect substitutes...and the demand for such type of commodities is called "Competitive Demand".
Malik
thanks
Toyin
Why many people can't differentiate Economists and financial analysts
Hatimu
what is the function of the central bank in an economic?
Toyin
the central bank may lend some money to banks if necessary
konglan

Get the best Principles of economics course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Principles of economics' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask