This section distills some general conclusions or principles from the chapter and outlines their implications for setting research priorities. Clearing has been very extensive in recent years, and the disturbances are not readily reversible, as deforestation by indigenous slash-and-burn techniques had previously been (Conklin, 1954; Nye and Greenland, 1966; Sanchez et al., 1982). National economic policies, as well as environmental and energy policies, can favor particular kinds of technological innovation and thus hasten or forestall environmental degradation. Several types of market failure are relevant to environmental problems. Dependency theorists often overlook the role and complicity of national elites (Hecht and Cockburn, 1989). The book focuses on establishing a framework for this new field of study, identifying problems that must be overcome if we are to deepen our understanding of the human dimensions of global change, presenting conclusions and recommendations. Research that estimates the relative impacts of proximate human causes of global change on particular environmental changes of concern, specifying the uncertainty of the estimates, is essential for understanding the human dimensions of global change. When they remain for an extended period in the atmosphere, they are likely to cause climate change. include burning fossil fuels, cutting down forests, and developing land for farms, cities, and roads. This includes mountain glaciers, ice sheets … Another important unknown is whether government policies will emphasize energy efficiency and the global environment. Compared with research on the causes of population growth, very little research has been devoted to understanding its consequences for environmental quality. a Estimates of N2O emissions are highly uncertain. However, the social and economic changes brought about by Amazonian development have created barriers to making and implementing such policies. For example, new technologies can promote economic growth, which in turn allows for further technological development; materialistic ideologies contributed to the rise of capitalism, which promotes materialistic ideas. Ready to take your reading offline? Corporations could also write off losses on Area-. The invention of CFCs started a process that led to building practices and patterns of human settlement with two unexpected and long-term effects on the global environment: a built-in demand for CFCs and a built-in demand for energy, not only for space cooling but also for transportation to and between the new dispersed, warm-climate population centers. 2. A more serious limitation of tree-structured accounts is that they do not by themselves illuminate the driving forces behind the proximal causes of global change. The other large-population, low-income countries of the world, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, get 2.5 to 6 times as much production as China out of each unit of energy they use (data from World Bank, 1989). Relationships among the driving forces depend on place, time, and level of analysis. Freon soon came to dominate the market for refrigeration and opened up new retail markets because of its diminished capital requirements. The existence of potential complications like these makes comparisons between paleoclimate change and modern climate change difficult but it is also one of the reasons why multiple approaches are needed. Fluctuating carbon dioxide levels are then a response to climate variation rather than the cause. The comparison of emissions of CO2 and pollutants in Eastern and Western Europe suggests that democratic countries may be able to deal more effectively with the effects of wastes than nondemocratic countries. When such a variable has a high impact, it is worth considering for inclusion in models of the relevant proximal causes of global change. Because many different tree diagrams may be consistent with the same data, tree diagrams must be treated as having only heuristic, not explanatory, value. Individuals seeking their short-term self-interest exploit or degrade open-access resources much faster than they would if they acted in the longer-term or collective interest (Dawes, 1980; Edney, 1980; Fox, 1985). Cows and sheep produce large amounts of methane when they digest their food. And this is not an isolated case. It may be more difficult in the latter for nonelite groups to get environmental issues on national policy agendas and then to influence the legislative process through the expression of public opinion. Industry is more energy-intensive than other productive sectors, and China devotes a greater proportion of its recorded energy consumption to industry and is more dependent on coal in that sector, than most other countries (see Table 3-8). Another involves diffusion of production technologies across national boundaries, particularly from more-developed to less-developed countries: How do the environmental impacts differ between the innovating countries and the adopting countries, and how do the differences depend on the social organizations using the technologies (e.g., Covello and Frey, 1989)? There is one final lesson of the CFC story that is most ironic of all. The modern forms of land use most implicated in deforestation—cattle ranching, crop agriculture, and logging and other industrial uses—are extensive and rapidly expansive, market and capital dependent, specialized in one or a few commodities, and mechanized or labor saving. The history of CFCs demonstrates, above all else, that human activities can have quite unexpected long-term effects on the environment. Climate change deniers also confuse the argument by suggesting there is nothing we can do anyway. coal reserves, after the Soviet Union and the United States, but is very limited in reserves of other fossil fuels (Xi et al., 1989) and lacks the capital for major investments in nuclear power or development of its large, but inconveniently located, hydroelectric potential. Widespread agreement that man-made global warming is highly likely would be progress. Neoclassical economic theory argues that free markets efficiently allocate goods and services to the most valued ends. In addition, chemical reactions in the atmosphere convert some radiationally inactive compounds into greenhouse gases over time. Previously, consumers had bought their refrigerated food at the store just before eating it, since efficient and reliable household refrigeration was not generally available. For instance, carbon dioxide is emitted by respiration of animals and plants, burning of biomass, burning of fossil fuels, and so forth. Since the conversion of inputs to useful outputs is never entire, it is fair to say economic activity inevitably stresses the environment by generating residual wastes. There is — and has already been enough — evidence showing that climate change is being driven by human activity, and is not just a part of a natural climate cycle. Environmental degradation follows when extraction disturbs land or biota and when resource use generates wastes. Third, government action may supersede the market (e.g., Burton, 1978; Coase, 1960), leading to inefficiencies, for instance, excessive and uneconomic cutting in U.S. national forests, or profligate use of coal in China due to artificially low prices and a production quota system that gives no premium for quality. So when they are cut down, that beneficial effect is lost and the carbon stored in the trees is released into the atmosphere, adding to the greenhouse effect. The production and consumption of goods and services is bound by a fundamental natural law—the conservation of matter. Human activities in distant areas of the planet had brought a sudden and potentially devastating change to the Antarctic and its ecosystems, a change that did not bode well for the ozone layer in other parts of the planet (Stolarski, 1988). If all else is equal, the greater the number of people, the greater the demands placed on the environment for the provision of resources and the absorption of waste and pollutants. Almost no one has responded to the ozone hole by suggesting a retreat from these fundamental technologies of modern life: al-. Chinese energy use in 1987 was 435 percent of what it was in 1965, while population was 147 percent, GNP per capita 305 percent, and GNP 97 percent of 1965 levels: (data from World Bank, 1989:Tables 1 and 5). Initially, projections of the future accounts based on simple models will suffice to guide the research plan for human dimensions. For example, critical changes in policy, such as increased emphasis on market incentives and decentralized decision making, might greatly improve energy productivity. Observational and experimental studies of these relationships have been done, although almost always with relatively small numbers of individuals in culturally and temporally restricted settings (see, e.g., Stern and Oskamp, 1987, for a review). Aggregate studies at the global level have limited value because the small number of data points make it impossible to identify the contingent relationships that shape the proximate human causes of global change. For example, 610,000 hectares (ha) of forest per year are used to produce charcoal for iron smelting in the Gran Carajas region of Brazil (Treece, 1989). You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. One is the comparative study of the effects of different imperfect-market methods of environmental management—including the various pricing systems and regulatory approaches in operation around the world, market-like approaches not in use but potentially usable, and various mixtures—to determine their effects on global environmental variables as a function of where and when they are used, and on which human activities. Conceptualized more clearly of human greenhouse gas sometimes offered as an example is shifting cultivation, the social and variables! Can take advantage of the unaccounted releases is anthropogenic chemicals become available some analysts trace the of... Practices of natural resources in pursuit of economic growth may also help the! Full effects of technological change click here to buy this book 's table of,. Changes, rather than the cause, total atmospheric carbon dioxide is the main cause of recent losses the... 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