Adam Snyder's Environmental Economics

Environmental Economics

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In class we are discussing many ways in which the transition from dirty technologies to new technologies presents difficulties for a government and a society to make. It is difficult to make because when a society participates in such dirty technologies for so long, they become dependent on that path and it becomes costly to shift into cleaner, more sustainable energy sources.

The United States addiction to oil will be one that truly fits the definition of “Path Dependence”. It will be extremely difficult to cut ties to this addiction. However there are many technologies being developed that would perhaps make this transition easier and one I believe will be the most influential is the development of Batteries.

Batteries will help resolve our addiction to oil because they help alleviate the production of power by allowing the user to store the energy instead of just constantly slurping it from the original power source, which is the cause of countless tons of carbon in the atmosphere. It is important that we continue to research because of it is the key to making a successful infrastructure for sustainability. Since our current infrastructure is not suited for an electric transition, batteries will aid in this transition, because new batteries will last longer, it will better reproduce the effect that gasoline engines produce and allow consumers to make the transition easier and make the transition sooner.

In the wave of controversy that comes with sustainability I feel that batteries are a solution that is commonly overlooked. However, with the development in this technology it could greatly benefit our move away from path dependence and a cleaner environment for the future.


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Just Another though about the EPA

In class on Monday we discussed the Foundations of the EPA, as well as the policies and the potential problems that seem to consistently occur with the EPA. For this blog I will be primarily discussing the common reoccurring problem of biases with the EPA and a potential solution.

During lecture, as a class, we learned about the process of Environmental Regulation and what seemed to most obvious is that with any step that in this process there seems to be room for corruption. For example, the EPA simply cannot afford to do research on the topic of environmental health, so in order to supplement this information, they might go to an independent firm who will do the research for them. If an independent firm does environmental research for the EPA, then there are ways that information can be biased. When biases occur they seemingly lead us away from potential solutions, but rather into debates of the legitimacy of claims.

Also Political influence plays a huge role the the EPA’s policies in the sense that certain politicians will latch onto a side of the polarized environmental debate simply because they can get funding from that specific side, this will most certainly lead to biases because those are the people who will decide to shut down the EPA or keep it running.

The list of these biases continues on, and one reoccurring reason why this happens, is money. If the EPA had enough money to execute power in an independent, non-biased way, then the pursuit of a clean environment would be in our reach.

So how can we get them money? As sarcastic as it sounds, why not just give them more? I mean our country is in incredible debt and continues to rollover that debt by paying off principle and interest with more loans, while at the same time does not affect any Americans consumption (or at least below a livable level of consumption). So theoretically, we can afford it because it only would add a fraction of the overall debt to the deficit and it wouldn’t affect us. The only difference is that the change in policy would eventually pay off because it is an investment in our future, (i.e. breathing easier, no flood repair costs). So, why not give the EPA as much as they want? Or any other program for that matter.