SOS 598 Final Exam Questions The Social Dimensions of Climate Change SOS494 / SOS598 Due: October 3 Your name: Mario M. Columbia 1.
Define “risk” and “uncertainty” and discuss how are thes e concepts being perceived and approached differently by the climate change scientists and the policy-makers (see the Schneider book Ch. 1 and the Farber & Carlarne book Ch. 1 & 2)? Discuss how different uncertainty and risk management strategies are having direc t consequences in the real-world cases (e.g.
, insurance, energy, transport, realignment of industrial priorities) (See Schneider Ch. 13 and 15, and the Farber & Carlarne Ch. 5)? Communicating risk and uncertainly is an essential part of helping others response to climate change.
Additionally, to meet today’s challenge s and tomorrow’s demands of climate change, given increasing system complexities, uncertainly and risks require new approaches. Risk can be defined as the probability and results which a re based on the knowledge or perception that a person has received about a given situatio n. There are times which risk is often expressed as a combination of hazard and vulnerability. Ho wever, uncertainly indicates a cognitive state of incomplete knowledge that results fro m a lack of information, and from disagreement about what was acknowledged, or even obvious. Climate change has some degree of uncertainty based on an understanding of what is predic ted to occur.
Although there is a substantial risk in stating that future temperatures could be more extreme. According to Mastrandrea & Schneider (2010) “to understand complex systems science like the study of climate change, it is essential to distinguish such conc lusions from hypotheses” (p. 11).
When looking at uncertainty and risk management strategies, so und decisions under uncertainty requires a non-traditional approach, whereas risk managem ent strategies are designed to deal with the uncertainties that surround projections of clima te change. Notwithstanding, it is not possible to eliminate uncertainly as, “uncertainly can als o be used as a justification for delaying action until a better understanding of the risks involved and the cost of reducing those risks become available” (Schneider & Mastrandrea, 2010, p. 162). T he recognition of risk management can facilitate uncertainly in assisting a mor e suitable response to climate change impacts. Also, understanding the uncertainties is critic al to characterizing risks and developingapproaches to decision making. As a consequence, Schneider & Mastrandrea (2010) states “decision making intended to address climate change must acco unt for uncertainly” (p. 163). Although in order to effectively and efficiently use decis ion making techniques while taking action to address risks, it is essential to have a fram ework for understanding and approaching the key risks.
It’s also important to note that uncertainties are most often characterized by assigning probabilities, and risk increases when probabilities are introduced. Failure to address climate change has been identified as one of the highest impending financial, economic, and socio-economic risks to our cultur e. Transitioning to a low-carbon economy has deep implications for many sectors including t he insurance, energy, transport, industries. This transition requires investments in crit ical infrastructure, labor training, educations and trade. These paradigm shifts require a more comprehensive and integrated risk management framework, spanning different sectors and governmen ts. Although there appears a widening gap, indicating that the benefits of risk and uncertai nly transfer measures are not being harnessed to their full potential. Concluding there is a wide variety of conceptions of risk, and uncertainties are often characterized by assigning probabil ities.
Therefore, there needs to an established common understanding and acceptable definitions of risk and uncertainty in the broader context of climate change. Reference Mastrandrea, M. D., ; Schneider, S. H.
(2010). Climate Change Science Overview. In S.
H. Schneider, A. Rosencranz, M.
D. Mastrandrea, ; K. Duris eti-Kuntz, Climate Change Science and Policy (pp.
11-27). Washington, DC.: Island Press. Schneider, S. H., ; Mastrandrea, M.
D. (2010). Risk, Uncer tainty, and Assessing Dangerous Climate Change. In S. H. Schneider, A. Rosencranz, M.
D . Mastrandrea, ; K. Duriseti-Kuntz, Climate Change Science and Policy (pp. 162-174). Washington, DC: Island Press. 2. What is the main basis of Mark Carey’s argument here: “…the focus on the science of climate change prediction has overlooked the human aspe cts of climate change, thereby limiting our understanding of how people actually respond to i t…” (Carey 2010:4)? Didn’t scientists play a significant role in reducing disaster risks in the Peruvian Andes? Using two examples of the past glacier hazards/disasters, discuss the ways local communities and the national government have dealt with retreating glaciers , glacier disasters, and glacial lakes management in the Peruvian Andes (hint: disaster economy , hazard zones, ethnic and class complexities, etc).My interpretation of Mark Carey’s main basis of his argument is that we should understand the relationship between people, communities, and nations and how they respond to climate change.
Additionally, there is substantial hist orical data on society interactions regarding climate change. For this reason, by bringing this data t o the forefront it will provide a benefit to the extent of what climate change has impacted on future societies. The Andean highland regions of Peru, are the most likely to be affected by climate change, particularly in terms of quality and quantity of t heir glacier feed water resources. Since 1941, various groups understood glacier hazards in different ways.
Scientists and engineers viewed the glacier issues in Peru as technical problems, an d government officials viewed glacier hazards as a threat to government projects and tourism. It was only in the aftermath of the Huaraz glacier disaster that the scientific community became involved. They tried to implement hazard zoning areas, and relocation of vulnerable populatio ns only to find local people push for engineering solutions. Later in 1966, engineering, water use or ientation issues were the topic for discussions. “Studies of ablation, mass balance, climat e conditions, and glacier tongue positions could have been the first steps toward understanding glacie r hazards” (Carey, 2010, p. 155).
I will discuss two examples which are visible indicators of climate change, ablation and mass balance. The first scientific visible indicators, abl ation is the study of the “volume of water melting from glaciers and flowing into valleys below, an d in what seasons that volume is greatest” (Carey, 2010, p. 154).
This includes glacier surface m elt, surface melt-water runoff, sublimation, subaqueous melting, and avalanching. The second, t he mass balance is another scientific visible indicator of the impact of climate change on mountains and glaciers. According to Carey (2010) “Mass balance helps determine whether a glac ier is generally getting larger or smaller because it accounts for both accumulation and melting” (154).
Moreover, the mass balance of a glacier is a theory significant to all t heories of glacier flow and behavior as it is the quantitative appearance of a glacier’s volumetric transf ormation through time. It’s important to understand that local people influence s cience, technology, and government policies, when developing climate change mitiga tion and adaptation methods to glacier issues. Therefore, as many would agree “adaptati on to glacier retreat and climate change hinges as much on culture, technological innovation, polit ics, economics, and social relations as it does on science and environmental change” (Carey, 2010, p. 197). Reference Carey, M. (2010). In the Shadow of Melting Glaciers. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.
3. What is “the economic cost”—both the short-term and lo ng-term “damages”—of climate change in different sectors reported in the Schneider Ch. 17 and the Farber & Carlarne Ch. 2 (e.g.
, agriculture, health, energy, water)? What is Az ar’s (Ch. 18) key argument(s) with regard to the “cost-efficiency” in reducing CO2 and other gree nhouse gas (GHG) emissions? Is there an alternative to the “business-as-usual scenar io” (Ch. 20)? When looking at the short-term and long-term economic cost damages, it is becoming clear that climate change is as much as an economic pr oblem as an environmental one.
The all-embracing aggregate effect of climate change on economic cost and growth will be expected to be negative in the short-term and long-term run. There fore, migrating away from a fossil fuel-based energy system will require significant investment s. Although other economist states when not acting to climate change “the overall costs and ri sks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5 percent of global Gross Domestic Produc t (GDP) each year, now and forever” (Hanemann, 2010, p.
185). The global climate system and the gl obal economic system are deeply intertwined, and not acting on climate change will necessitate cost that will burden the economy. Regarding the cost of acting, there are cost s associated with reducing GHG emissions, regulating GHG emissions, making for a complicated syste m, one that is difficult to predict and understand. “Particularly problematic, most existing econ omic analyses rely on rather general information and are highly aggregated over space and time, w hich has important consequences for estimating the economic costs of climate change” (Hanemann, 2010, p. 185). Therefore, when discussing short-term and long-term economic cost damages, it’s important to realize physical, environmental, and social impact and their econom ic validation as the economic costs of climate change.
It’s also important to note that “m odeling the systemic economic impact of climate change as well as the costs of adaptation and m itigation entails tremendous challenges, particularly if the projection extends more than a few years” (Farber ; Carlarne, 2018, p. 42). Christian Azar main argument is to suggest that it is pos sible that climate change policies will benefit all in protecting the climate at the lowe st possible cost. Azar also believe that that dangerous anthropogenic climate changes can safety be avoi ded and identifies three cost-benefit analyses of climate change. The first is an economy -wide price incentives, specific technology policies, and standards for energy efficiency. It’s thr ough these benefits that ambitious climate protection goals can be achieved without substantial losse s in economic growth. Therefore, as I’ve shown, and others would agree, it wo uld be beneficial to invest in the cost of acting to curb climate change now. Not acting soon er will result in significant potential future costs.
Industries will need to take the appropriate m easures to invest in the cost of actingto curb climate change now, before, the chances for our ecosystem to adapt naturally are weakened and the cost will be enormous. Reference Farber, D. A., ; Carlarne, C. P. (2018). Climate Change Law.
St. Paul: Foundation Press. Hanemann, M. (2010). What Is the Economic Cost of Climate Change? In S.
H. Schneider, A. Rosencranz, M.
D. Mastrandrea, ; K. Duriseti-Kuntz, Climate Change Science and Policy (pp. 185-193). Washington, DC: Island Press. 4. What are the strengths and weaknesses of market-based r esponse approach to climate change (i.e.
, carbon taxes, trading, and offsets explained in the Schneider Ch. 19 and the Farber ; Carlarne Ch. 4)? What has worked and what has not (see the Farber ; Carlarne Ch. 6)? Why do several countries, including the USA, and the industries pr efer and support this approach, whereas many others (e.g., environmental activists) are still very critical of it? The strengths and weaknesses of climate change market b ased response approaches of carbon taxes, cap and trade, and offsets largely depends on the overall market orientation. According to Cullenward (2010) “The most popular approach to dat e is a cap-and-trade system, modeled after a successful program used to control sulfur dioxide emissions in the United States” (p. 204).
A cap-and-trade system places a li mit on the amount of carbon, industry can release in a single year. The strength of the ca p-and-trade policy is that it offers companies the ability to generate carbon credits, and then selling the credits to other companies. Although the weakness of this policy is that the government mandat es the total level of emissions reduction, allowing the market to trade credits, artificial ly inflating the credit, causing price volatility.
“With carbon taxes, the price of emissi ons is set, but the resulting reduction in emissions is uncertain” (Cullenward, 2010, p. 209). A carbo n tax is simply a fee imposed on carbon emitters. A carbon tax offers constant carb on prices, so companies can make investment decisions without fear of fluctuating regulatory costs.
Although many investors would state that one of the weaknesses is a tax reduces opportunities for market manipulation. Regarding offsets, this is a “loosely defined as projects completed outside a climate policy system that produce emissions reductions” (Cullenward, 2010, p. 207).
One of th e main strengths of offsets, is that companies can sell carbon credits to offset their car bon footprint. Although a major weakness of offsets is that there are no standard procedures for calculating either the baseline emissions or the carbon reductions.Prior to deciding which climate change market based response approaches works or not, it’s important to note that both carbon taxes and cap-an d-trade exactly the same outcomes, pricing carbon. It’s important to understand when reviewing w hich program works and what does not, which variables companies want to have control over, and what variables the companies will leave to the market. With that informat ion, many countries, including the United States prior to the Trump administration, find what works best is the cap-and-trade policy as the value created by generating a surplus of carbon credits i s thought to provide incentive innovation in emissions reduction technology. Reference Cullenward, D.
(2010). Carbon Taxes, Trading, and Offsets. I n S. H. Schneider, A. Rosencranz, M.
D. Mastrandrea, ; K. Duriseti-Kuntz, Climate Change Science and Policy (pp. 204-210). Washington, DC: Island Press.
5. As discussed by Farber ; Carlarne (Ch. 1 and 3), why do we need a global-scale “legal framework” (or governance) of climate change? How eff ective have these international treaties, including the Kyoto Protocol, been in reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, given that many leading industrial countries h ave not signed or ratified them (see the Farber ; Carlarne Ch. 3)? How do the countries like China and India fit into this? (See the Schneider book Ch. 29 and 30) 6.
Why are “population” and “consumption” considered hot-butto n issues in the climate change discourse, even when we all know that these are the key contributors to the GHG emissions? (See the Farber ; Carlarne Ch. 2 p 34-50). When it comes down to who should pay for the adaptation and mitigation efforts to reduce GHG emissions , is there a question of ethics and justice/inequalities and why is it significant? (See the Schneider Ch. 24 and the Farber ; Carlarne Ch. 2 p. 50-55) It could be said that population and consumption are rela ted. Thus, as the world’s population continues to grow, so does the consumption of fossil fuels and other natural resources.
Therefore, as the gap between rich and poor, powerful and powerless merge and grow, so will population and consumption. Population growth continually sets in motion the consequences of any level of individual consumption to an e levated plateau. So, it is easy to understand why population and consumption are hot buttons in t he climate change debate. Although can any reduction in population actually place the environment on a more sustainable path? Also, can high consumption habits of the industrial nations lessen? One thing is clear that when population decreases, so does the multipliers of consumption.Ethics, justice, and inequalities are several of the vast challenges of this generation, and one that will only be intensified by climate change.
B elieving that we might address climate change by other means of who will pay for the adaptation and mitigation efforts, without addressing the ethics, justice, and inequalities that cause i t is a grave mistake. “Intimately linked to mitigation costs is the issue of targets and timetable s of GHG emissions reduction commitments” (Sager & Baer, 2010, p. 252). Many nations do not have the technological abilities, wealth, and global influence to influence decis ion-makers, raising a number of ethical questions. This rising ethic, justice, and inequalities wil l diminish economic growth and political stability. A significant factor about climate change, international law is that it does not focus on the ethics, justice, and inequalities of climate change.
Moreover, nor does equity dimensions such as consequential inequity and procedural inequities which are equally important. As many are aware, wealth eventually converts into poli tical power, a society with high levels of wealth and income inequality leaves those at the bottom, less able to oppose the powerful interests that profit from climate change. In short, climate change presents pressing ethics, justice, and inequalities concern which draws atte ntion to existing global population, consumption, health, and security inequalities. It’s eve ry nation’s responsibility to provide ethics, justice, inequalities and moral responsibility for its people and protect the welfare of its future citizens. Consequently, failure to do so would repre sent a failure of the indistinguishably bond between most nations and their citizens. Reference Sager, A., & Baer, P.
(2010). Inequities and Imbalances. In S. H. Schneider, A. Rosencranz, M.
D. Mastrandrea, & D.-K. Kristin, Climate Change Science and Policy (pp. 251-261).
Washington, DC: Island Press. 7. Based on Leiserowitz’s findings (Ch. 16), what do we know about the risk perceptions of and behavioral responses to climate change in the USA? Do you think these findings reflect–and are consistent with–the slow actions taken at the f ederal level to address climate change concerns (Layzer 2016; Farber ; Carlarne Ch. 6)? How are some state and local level responses different from the federal level (the Schnei der book Ch. 36, and the Farber ; Carlarne Ch. 7)? Public risk perception of and behavior responses to climate change are critical components to the socio-political context, and how pol icy makers operate in the United States. Additionally, there is a wide variety of reports and res earch documenting risk perception andbehavioral responses to climate change.
According to Leiserowitz (2010) “social scientists have found that public risk perceptions strongly influence the wa y people respond to hazards” (p. 175). Although it’s not clear whether the United States r isk perceptions are related to their moral attitudes or whether moral attitudes to climate change a re linked with their behavioral intentions to simplify climate change. Throughout the United States, risk perceptions of climate change are significant for several reasons.
The United States has roughly five perc ent of the world’s population, and we are one the world’s largest emitter of CO 2, accounting for more than a quarter percent of global emissions. The other reason is that our current gover nment administration is at odds with the rest of the world regarding the severity and action nee d to tackle climate change. Ironically, according to Leiserowitz (2010) “In the United States, numer ous public opinion polls demonstrate that large majorities of Americans are awar e of global warming” (p. 177). Americans risk perception of and behavior responses to cli mate change seem to be driven primarily by the perception of danger to geographically dista nt locations.
Interesting enough, Americans were less concerned about the local impact of climate change. Of also significant importance, a majority of Americans approve the regulat ion of CO2, support the Kyoto Protocol, and want to reduce greenhouse gas emission no matter what other nations do. . Across the United States, local and state governments are already consciously making intelligent decisions to respond to climate change. Acco rding to Bushinsky (2010) “U.S.
states have taken leadership on climate change policy by introducin g a variety of initiatives that directly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions” (p. 371). O n a local level, Americans are attempting to make their homes and transportation more e nergy efficient, and support energy policies, and demonstrate a high awareness of climate cha nge. In short, while a majority of Americans ranging from local, to state governments belie ve in climate change, it still remains a low priority compared to other environmental issues. Bushinsky, J.
(2010). U.S. State Climate Action. In S.
H. Schneider, A. Rosencranz, M. D.
Mastrandrea, & K. Duriseti-Kuntz, Climate Change Science and Policy (pp. 371-376).
Washington, DC: Island Press. Leiserowitz, A. (2010). Risk Perceptions and Behavior. In S. H.
Schneider, A. Rosencranz, M. D. Mastrandrea, & K. Duriseti-Kuntz, Climate Change Science and Policy (pp. 175-184). Washington, DC: Island Press.
8. How is “mitigation” an option to address climate change issues? What are the types of mitigation options on the table and their relative cos ts and benefits? What is in it for the industries and why would they be interested to take actions toward mitigation policies and strategies? (Week 6 and 7 readings, mainly the Farber & C arlarne Ch. 5 to 9) Mitigation is about minimizing the negative impact of c limate change, reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, although effec tive mitigation implementation depends on integrated responses that link mitigation and adaptation. According to Farber & Carlarne (2018) “while adaptation has always been part of UN FCCC negotiations, until recently, it remained a distant second priority to mitigation” (p.
222 ). While mitigation and adaptation are still implemented independently, it is probable that innova tion and change can broaden the availability and/or effectiveness of adaptation and mitiga tion opportunities. Additionally, there is a consensus that synergistic approaches to adaptation and mitigation could bring substantial benefits in addressing climate change. Nevertheless, i t’s somewhat unlikely that we will be able to clean up the extra greenhouse gases and bring to an end cli mate change entirely through mitigation efforts. Thus, some adaptation will be nece ssary. When reviewing different types of mitigation options, r educing the amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and inventing ways to get gree nhouse gases out of the atmosphere come to mind.
To reduce the amount of greenhouse gases into t he atmosphere, there are at least three techniques known as carbon dioxide removal (CDR). The first method, known as the terrestrial method is about capturing carbon, either as a net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere, or a prevention of CO 2 from terrestrial ecosystems. According to Farber ; Carlarne (2018) “Terrestrial methods for capturing carbon, increasingl y, are widely embraced as generally acceptable methods for limiting climate change” (p.
246). A lthough the second method, oceanic system modification, is best known for removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it deep in the ocean, there is another method being discussed. This involves altering the ocean system “through a process known as ocean fertilization” (Farbe r ; Carlarne, 2018, p. 247).
Ocean fertilization is the addition of nutrients into the oc ean, to accelerate carbon sequestration from phytoplankton. The third method, a technology based remov al called carbon capture and storage (CCS), is a prevention of CO 2 from entering the atmosphere. The benefits of these CDR methods, are twofold.
They would reduce the immediate c ause of atmospheric CO2, and diminish ocean acidification.In order for industries to be interested to take action toward mitigation and adaptation policies, key barriers, opportunities and solutions need to be identified. This can happen through a more coordinates dialogue, engagement, and action among key industry stakeholders, taking into consideration both adaptation and mitigation sides.
“Intimately linked to mitigation costs is the issue of targets and timetables of GHG emissions r eduction commitments” (Sager ; Baer, 2010, p. 252). It’s through this collaboration industry will find that investment in low-carbon and carbon-neutral energy technologies can reduce the ene rgy intensity of economic development, the carbon intensity of energy, GHG emis sions, and the long-term costs of mitigation and adaptation. References Farber, D. A., & Carlarne, C. P. (2018).
Climate Change Law. St. Paul: Foundation Press. Sager, A., & Baer, P. (2010). Inequities and Imbalances. In S.
H. Schneider, A. Rosencranz, M. D.
Mastrandrea, & D.-K. Kristin, Climate Change Science and Policy (pp.
251-261). Washington, DC: Island Press.