2nd Half Summaries!

Disclaimer: These are SUPER-ROUGH, almost stream-of-conciousness notes taken by my on the readings and Parson Lectures. They may not be fully understood, but I hope they help get a super-brief capture of important topics. Good luck on Monday! -Ryan Smith

Chris Bright - Environmental Surprises: Planning for the Unexpected

Expect sudden events, not just gradual declines. BE ON YOUR TOES!
Honduras - weather made things barren, people left…started making farms by cutting down rainforests.
Malaria (chemicals) mosquitos gianed resistance-came back-more malaria!
All due to deforestation?? Forests could’ve protected from mudlsides of Hurricane Mitch
Many factors make reality……discoontinuities,synergisms, unnoticed trends
discontinuite - sudden shift in the norm. synergism - perfect storm of many things at once. unnoticed trend-self-explanatory.
Forest Fires: So much more destruction than just those “cut down” -RAINFORESTS!!
Moisture Effects of Deforestation: Forest are their own climate!
Acid Rain, Over-hunting,
This leads NATURE to produce MORE problems that we CAN’T anticipate….No reset button! .
Nature is Complex!
==Work WITH nature!
==Plan for Diversity!
==Plan to keep planning (adapting!)
==Work together!

James J. Kay and Eric Schneider - Embracing Complexity: The Challenge of the Ecosystem Approach

We must learn to not manage ecosystems, but manage our interactions with them
Ecology…a QUAGMIRE of complexity??
Diversity =Stability…but HOW do you know??
Succession…no consensus on what it means!!
===Physical: The 2nd Law of thermo says the world is unravelling. Ecological: Nature is not unravelling. It is bountiful and constantly replenishing.
Catastrophe theory===Sudden changes can Occur!!! BOOM. Chaos Theory: Everything is Random. CHEESESTICKS!
Some say events (tornadoes?) are self-organized. i.e. explained by thermo.
Middle number problems - Including ALL particles, movements, interactions??? Into realm of theoretical and statistical…i.e. can introduce bias/simplification
What if you change conditions? Still self-organizing? i.e. genetics.
-Now, what about ecosystems? They are like a symphony!!! They bounce back.
We must operate fundamentally differently! Enhance nature! Don’t try to statically control it.

Donella Meadows - Places to Intervene in a System (in Order to Increase its Effectiveness)

People push systems in the WRONG direction?
GROWTH has the same problems as we are trying to avoid.
Counterintuitive. Tough.
#9 - Numbers. Least important. Quibbling. Faucet analogy…Rarely change behavior.
#8 - Material Stocks and Flows. How stuff moves around. Buffers=stability?..hard to change
#7 - Regulating Neg. Feedback Loops. They are good! More impacts, more feedbacks needed
#6 - Drive Pos. Feedback Loops. Slowing expon. rates of growth/decline. Look at Birth rates?
#5 - Information Flows. Usually jusst NEW LOOPs where there weren’t ones before.
#4 - Rules of the System - incentives, punishments, constraints. Rules change behavior.
#3 - Power of Self: Organization. Bouncing back, adapting. Mysterious..Divine? Cultures-touchy
#2 - Goals of the System - Usually neg. feedbacks have goal in mind. These drive systems!
#1 - Paradign out of which System Arises - Paradigms make goals. How change? Instantly!
#0 - Power to Transcend Paradigms - Don’t cling to pardigms. Instead be open-minded.

Paradigms can be adopted to achieve a purpose.

Thomas Princen - The Logic of Sufficiency

Examples of “Sustainable” Practices. - Weak Dams, Native grass grazing, fisheries
BUT not efficient? Not rational? Rational=efficiency?
There are DIFFERENT types of rationality! ===Rational Pluralism. Notably Ecological Rationality
Adam Smith: used markets to explain. FArmers, grazers use more place-based approach
Change will only happen when the “economic” minds die off!!!
Three Aspects: Frontier (new stuff, be careful how you exploit it), Env Protection (Env provides us with benefits), and Sustainability (hotly argued and misunderstood)
Sustainability - INCLUDES Mining! Pick up gold or not?. Social & Biophysical. And long term
Inefficiencies can be emergency response mechanisms..i.e. ESSENTIAL! for neg feedbacks!
Values in Experience - farmers, etc. Not mastery, but husbandry!
Extra is seen as a “buffer” not an inefficiency! i.e. lakes more stable than rivers
Value - attached to organism and ecosystem FUNCTIONING…low entropy materials like wood

Audrey Shenandoah - A Tradition of Thanksgiving

Prayers recognize all earth things needed to provide food.
We’re responsible for seven generations in the future. Again, there’s a connection to the land
Be close and comfortable with death, instead of scared of it

Parson Lecture: Markets 1: Optimization and Consumer Choice
Making decisions - wanting more of things, make a frontier. MRT gives willingness to give up
Convex - more you have harder to get more (space). Concave - more have, easier to get more (getting better at something more you do it)
Indififference Curves: Show WILLINGNESS of one versus other (or MRS).
Intersection - Demand Curve!!! - Best point, farthest out indifference curve, spend whole budget

Parson Lecture: Markets 2: Supply Curves and Market Equilibrium
When MC=MR for an addt’l product - will produce.
READ GRAPHS! See, Cons and Prod surplus, deadweight loss, Price & quantity controls, taxes

Parson Lecture: Markets 3: Market Failure
Assume perfect competition, no transaction costs, no external effects?
MONOPOLY! MR steeper than demand. Under-prod, over charge. DEADWEIGHT LOSS
Neg Externality - MSC = MC+MEC = “true” MC. If not, DEADWEIGHT LOSS (prod too much)
Pos Externality — MSB = D + MEB = “true” MB. If not, DEADWEIGHT LOSS (not enough prod)
Trasnfer of value means how much Cons Surp turns into Prod Surp or vice versa (see PS#2)
How to manage externalities? Look at MSC and MCA!!!!
MSC steep, MCA not steep - use standards (less deadweight loss if wrong)
MSC not steep, MCA Steep -
- use taxes (less deadweight loss if wrong)

Parson Lecture: Markets 4: Responses to Market Failure
Coase Theorem - Use Property Rights!
If right to cleanliness, or right to pollute - different outcomes, BUT:
A soln can be negotiated where all mutually gain. i.e. polluter pays victim a fraction of costs to clean-up, which is higher than the victims costs. Mutual gain. Same outcome NO MATTER who has property rights!
MUST ASSUME: Transaction costs=0
Can reach optimums without policy, but it’s rare.

Parson Lecture: Policy 1: Mechanics of Policy and Law for Environment and Natural Resources

Congress states broad goals, Agencies responsible for implementing them.
1970s got really strict: Increasing regulating power
Citizen Suit: State of MA vs. EPA to regulate gases.
Since then, Chevron 2-Step Test:
1.) Was Congress precise in their goals?
2.) If no, the agency has discretion to interpret them.
International law TOUGH - No constitution, no legistlature

Parson Lecture: Policy 2: Informing Policy Decisions: Benefit-Cost Analysis

BCA-To decide WHAT to do. See all choices, assign consequences to each, then to a SINGLE metric ($)
Env effects are usually shortchanged
Relies on Kaldor-Hicks efficiency. That winners would pay losers for net gain to all
Tuolumne – build a dam or not?
Indirect, Option, and Non-Use Values – Use “Willingness to Accept/Pay”
Revealed Preference (What people DO pay) —- Stated Pref. (Contingent Valuation) (what people WOULD pay)
CV Problems – Vague questions, responses don’t scale-up, ordinary ppl aren’t trained
BUT, good design can counteract all these.
NOAA says CV is OK, but need to do in-person interviews.

Parson Lecture: Policy 3: BCA Cont’d: Discounting

TIME aspect of decisions’ effects.
Interest: FV = PV*(1+r)^N --Discounting: PV = FV / (1+r)^N (SAME EQ, REARRANGED?)
Series of payments as one PV = (Payment amt)* ((1+r)^n-1)/r*(1+r)^n
One PV as a series of payments = (PV)*CRF. (Inverse of above)
LOW DRs are used to favor wasteful public works projects
Discount Rate: r = delta + nu*g
Delta = discount in rate on future utility.
Nu=inequality aversion 0, all $ equal. 1, all income increases equal. >1, income to poor worth more
G = growth rate in per capita income

Parson Lecture: Policy 4: Uncertainty and Risk

Values represent expected value of variety of possibilities…
People ar e risk-averse
Certainty Equivalent – amount you will accept to NOT take a gamble
Risk Premium = EV of gamble – CE. Amount you pay to be relieved of risk.
Risk averse good for high-stakes, or if permanent loss is eminent
Environmental issues – FAT-TAILED probability distributions – Extreme events considered more heavily.
Risk of DEATH…Val of Life = $ paid / prob(death)…rich more safe?
OR,human capital, or identified Lives in peril
Human Capital – how much I would’ve contributed to economy if I was alive..unsatisfying
Lives in Peril – WTP to save usually infinite…costly

Parson Lecture: Policy 5: Cost-Effectiveness

If consequences aren’t measured in just one scale.
Cost Effectiveness Analysis – Ratio. Lives saved/$ spent, etc.
Adv: No need to value all things. Disadv: No ABSOLUTE targets.

Policy 5.5 Science and Policy!
Positive (fact) versus normative (“should” statement)
Science is NOT a body of factual knowledge! It is a PROCESS.
Science CAN’T prove things, but it CAN project and describe situations. For CLARITY.
Science-based policy—-can succumb to politics. Mindsets, bias, false authority
Scientific Assessment can be helpful. E.g. IPCC, biodeiversity assessment

Parson Lecture: Policy 6: Positive Theories of Policy, Policy Failure
Policy-making does employ coercive power…and many people ifght for influence
Politicians wanting re-elections—avoid hard choices, following “fashions of the week”
Beauracracy (slow, effectrive), Empire Building (authority, unfair) , Regulatory Capture (corrupt agencies with those who were regulated)
Rent-seeking: Value provided w/o any increase in efficiency!
So, YES there are dangers to BCA, but it helps battle the Status Quo!

Leopold, Aldo – The Conservation Ethic.

Ethic- Biology-limit on behaviors. Philspophical – social vs non-social activity
Civilization- human/nature dependency.
Criticism of “salvation by machinery.” Bacuase LAND not considered.

Bernard and Young – The American Conservation Movement:Coming of Age at the Century Mark

1st Wave: Early 1900s – forestry as tree farming. Then preservationists and utilitarians came around
2nd Wave: Post WWII – Pollution rampant. 1960s, protection became mainstream.
3rd Wave: After the ‘60s earth as living system (ecology) became common mindset.

Hosmer, LaRue. The Method of Moral Reasoning.

Moral problems – some will win, some will get hurt.
Goals, Norms, Beliefs, all expectations.
All subjective, varying by social and religious traditions
Moral Reasoning:
Define Problem
State alternatives
Sort out factual issues
Think about personal impacts
Apply ethical principles

Daly, Herman. Sustainable Growth: An Impossibility Theroem
Tough to admit, but growth must be limited.
Humans now displace ¼ of NPP?
Growth, increase in wealth?
Want: Harvesting rate<regeneration rate. Waste production<assimilation

M King Hubbert – Exponential Growth as Transient Phenomenon in Human History
Resources are exhausted, like a normal distribution. Renewables are not, more like an s-shaped curve.