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The recent earthquake in Japan illustrates the dangers of even safe, government-monitored nuclear energy. When disaster occurs, how can we safely evacuate the large numbers of affected people? Indeed, how can we even be sure how far the evacuation radius should extend? Radiation can also enter the food chain, causing damage from the bottom (phytoplankton and microscopic soil organisms) all the way to the top. Once again, the price paid for cheap power is much greater than what is seen on the electric bill.

An airplane view of oil-clogged sandbars and the surrounding ocean water tainted by oil is shown here.
An aerial view of the Gulf Coast, taken in May of 2010, illustrates the damage done by the BP Deep Water Horizon spill. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Warren/flickr)

The enormous oil disaster that hit the Louisiana Gulf Coast is just one of a frighteningly high number of environmental crises that have led to toxic residue. From the Love Canal neighborhood of the 1970s to the Exxon Valdez oil tanker crash of 1989, from the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 to Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant incident in 2011—the list goes on. Often, the stories are not newsmakers, but simply an unpleasant part of life for the people who live near toxic sites such as in the stories of Centralia, Pennsylvania and Hinkley, California. In many cases, people in these neighborhoods can be part of a cancer cluster without realizing the cause.

Oil spilled on a beach is shown here.
Oil on the gulf shore beaches caused great destruction, killing marine and land animals and crippling local business. (Photo courtesy of AV8ter/flickr)

Climate change

World systems analysis suggests that core nations (like the U.S. and Western Europe) were historically the greatest source of greenhouse gases, but have now evolved into postindustrial societies. Now that semi-peripheral and peripheral nations are industrializing, the core nations wish to enact strict protocols regarding the causes of global warming (since their economies are no longer so dependent on greenhouse-gas-causing industries). However, the semi-peripheral and peripheral nations rightly point out that they only want the same economic chance to evolve their economies, and since they were unduly affected by the progress of core nations, if the core nations now insist on “green” policies, they should pay offsets or subsidies of some kind. There are no easy answers to this conflict. It may well not be “fair” that the core nations benefited from ignorance during their industrial boom. But with China leading the way as a top greenhouse gas emitter, it matters less to the planet whether they get their fair shake at polluting. The international community continues to work toward a way to manage climate change. The Durban Talks that concluded in December 2011 point to a willingness by both core countries and peripheral nations to move toward a legally binding instrument for all countries (World Resource Institute 2011).

Climate change, which used to be called global warming, is a deeply controversial subject, despite decades of scientific research that demonstrates its existence. Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures due to human activity and, in particular, the release of greenhouse gases into the environment. While the planet as a whole is warming––hence the term global warming––the term climate change is now used because the short-term variations can include higher or lower temperatures, despite the overarching trend toward warmth. Another effect is more extreme weather. There are increasingly more record-breaking weather phenomena, from the number of Category 4 hurricanes to the amount of snowfall in a given winter. These extremes, while they make for dramatic television coverage, can cause immeasurable damage to crops, property, and even lives.

Questions & Answers

what is the difference between demand and supply
Peter Reply
what is the national income
Kamara Reply
oils and resources
Peter
What's current account?
Che Reply
Demand refers to goods and services that the buyer is willing and able to buy at a price over a period of time
Che
Can it be possible to have two level of comparative advantage in a country ?
Louise Reply
.no.its not possible
Asanda
Why ?
Louise
I think no possible
Sadiq
No
Nwanne
why do oligopoly increase on the elastic segment of the demand curve
Tintswalo Reply
what is all about production possibility curve
Nice Reply
help me about the assumption of possibility curve
Nice
-The quantity and quality of economic resources are fixed. -only two types of goods can be produce out of this resources (that is,producer and consumer goods). -Resources are fully utilised. -The resources are mobile. -The state of technology is constant.
Louise
What is utility
chisom Reply
what is the meaning of money and inflation
Tinuke Reply
Money can be define as anything acceptable as a medium of exchange and mean of payment
Cynthia
inflation is when everything seemed to cost so much less
Nwanne
what is a bar chart
Godwin Reply
what's economic
John Reply
Economics can be define as a study of how human beings make decisions in the face of scarcity it can also be define as using one wealth to make more wealth
Cynthia
Or in Nigerian way Economics is a science (social science) which studies human behavior as a relationship between Ends and Scarce which have alternative uses
Cynthia
Economics is the study of how human make decision in the face of scarcity
Nwanne
what is the meaning of imperfect market structure
Hoyindamolah Reply
the theroy of demand
Tinuke
what is market economy
Jusu Reply
Market Economy:Is a system where the laws of supply and those demand direct the production of goods and services.
Iyabo
what is the meaning of money and inflation
Tinuke
what's demand in economics?
Abi Reply
Demand in economic is the good a consumer is willing or able to purchase at a particular time
Hoyindamolah
explanation of graph,bar chart,pie chart with examples
Abdulmojeed
4. Assume, after completing your economics class, you explain your friend that about 65% of GDP is spending on consumption. Your friend tells you that people are greedy and it is better for GDP if they spend on services or experiences. What would be your answer to your friend?
Javohir Reply
What is power
Ahmad Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology. OpenStax CNX. Aug 29, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11565/1.1
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