Politicsand the Environment
Politicsand the Environment
Theinterrelationships between environmental issues and politics have inthe recent past garnered significant attention. Whereas the formershowcases divergent attributes linked to global warming, the latterhas continuously modeled different approached in protecting theenvironment. Contrariwise, environmental studies and research byvarious scientific and environment institutions have for as long timebeen avenues through which environmental awareness and consciousnesswas instilled. The general public is majorly dependent on researchevidence and analysis regarding the occurrences in the environmentand the potential implications for human life and human activity(Barry& Frankland, 2014).As a result, these studies have been attitude shapers and influencersof various public acceptations to various entities based onenvironmental concerns. The global scare, for example, of the highcarbon emissions by industries and industrial projects andtechnologies have significantly impacted on high set expectations forcorporate social responsibility (Gupta, 2014). One major concern forCSR was assessing potential environmental impacts and effectivelymanaging these impacts. A research conducted in Omani about publicattitudes towards implementation of solar thermal energy projectsrevealed that most of the people would support its implementationbased on environmental concerns (Ghaith & Abusitta, 2014).Tentatively, the Pascua Lama issue, Barrick Gold Corporation facedopposition from the residents of Chile and Argentina and later thegovernments who were threatened by the gold mining project’simplications for the environment (Betsill,Hochstetler & Stevis, 2014).Furthermore, since 2000 the California state has been particularlykeen on reducing carbon emissions by encouraging the use of SuperUltra Low Emission Vehicles, otherwise knonw as SUVLEV (Zhang, 2015).These examples evidence the public’s unquestionable concerns forthe environment. Arguably, these concerns are founded onenvironmental knowledge disseminated through environmental andscientific research regarding the environment. However, environmentalanalysts observe, this interest is seemingly fading. With numerousenvironmental campaigns providing baseless ideologies and scientificresearch coupled by subjective, inconclusive, manipulated andunproven environmental statistics, lesser attention is paid to thesedetails. Consequently, the public tend to rely on limited knowledge,that it is only right to conserve the environment withoutnecessarily focusing on the scientific aspects. This paper examinesthe effects of environmental politics on economic policies. Using areconciliation of two articles concerned with environmental politics,the paper discusses the global warming issue and explains the extentsto which governments should intervene in environmental issues and theeconomic implications of such interventions. As such, this retrospectpaper seeks to discuss the divergent environmental issues whilepresenting contemporary political ideologies and approaches.
Politicshas for a long time been associated with struggles for leadershiproles and exchange of words through contrasting opinions andideologies. Karl., et al. (2014), however, observe that the art hashowever developed its roots and steadily encroached into theenvironmental campaigns. As such, the public has been victimized bycontrasting and unwarranted environmental ideas and statementscausing significant confusions, and in some cases, disinterest (Barry& Frankland, 2014 Smith & Leiserowitz, 2014).The contrasting environmental statements seemingly borrows fromreasonable research sources, findings and statistic that ideally makethem logical. In the public domains, however, these politics areloosening the public’s grip on environmental attention. This hasculminated into an ideology battle about climate change, notablybetween the environmental alarmist and the skeptics and ‘deniers’(Rootes, 2014).
Lindzen(2010) and Hayward (2010) seem to agree on the levels of confusionemerging from contrasting environmental studies and research. Forinstance, Hayward uses the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on ClimateChange (IPCC), World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and discusses theClimategate controversy to delve into the politics of environment andclimate change. Cases of exaggerations, irregularities, anddistortions in research findings and statistics including relying onbiases and assumptions and self-contradictory opinions characterizedthese environmental politics. As a result, the climate campaignmovement, Hayward (2010) observes, such understanding is on anunconcealable decline, with the title ‘deniers’ being consideredto be more suited to the climate campaigners. Similarly, Lindzen(2010) points out anomalies on environmental research and studies byhighlighting the unethical data manipulation and suppression ofknowledge and information in the Climategate controversy.Additionally, Lindzen (2010) delves at the ‘hockey stick’ climategraph by Michael Mann and Phil Jones, the director of the ClimateResearch Unit (CRU). Their investigations on climate and climatechange were brief and lacked in-depth analysis. The U.S NationalAcademy of Science and Royal society presidents admit to a decline inthe public interest about climate. However, the academy still assuresdedication to instilling knowledge on controlling of carbon emissionshowcasing its resilience and dedication to protecting theenvironment.
Arguably,environmental politics is a politics against self. The climatecampaigners and proponents of climate change programs have appearedto showcase contradictory signals or send unreliable and unprovenalarms that are gradually leading to the collapse of the intendedmission – protecting the environment. On the other hand, theskeptics and critics have used these evident weaknesses to counterthe climate change campaigns. This has lead to massive publicconfusion where Lindzen (2010) concludes that it would be imperativefor human concerns to focus on real environmental issues and such asguaranteeing clean water and air.
Consideringthe issues articulated in Lindzen (2010) and Hayward (2010)arguments, environmentalists have focused significant attention onclimate change. With this focus, comes the interest of reducing thelevels of carbon emissions, which is a proven cause of the greenhouseeffect (Karl., et al, 2014). Industrial gaseous emissions, vehicleemission and fossil fuel energy production technologies have beenidentified as high emitters of carbon dioxide gas, hence, radiatingreflected solar energy back to the earth surface (Karl., et al,2014). As a result, there is a gradual increase in globaltemperatures that may have fatal environmental effects. Theseinclude coastal flooding, rising of extreme storms, severe droughts,melting of polar ices among other undesirable environmental effects.Ideally, serious climate change concerns date back to the 1980’s,and several measures have been taken to manage environmental impacts.The Gulf Cooperation Council, for example, consists of countries inthe Gulf region. These countries have a high fossil energy productionthat contributes 12% of the world’s carbon emissions. As such, thecouncil signed the Climate Change Policy, which to date is stillparadoxical considering their high carbon emissions (Salahuddin& Gow, 2014).Lindzen (2010) in his article points out that the IPCC seems to be90% certain, though, without tangible proof, the rise in globaltemperatures is linked to human activity. Additionally, according toHayward’s article released a report in 2007, he articulates thatthe Himalayan glaciers were threatening to be fully melted by 2035.Despite the extreme exaggeration in this prediction and several otherenvironmental politics, the public is aware that the globaltemperatures are gradually rising, hence escalating its awareness(Zhang, 2015). Environmental politics, on the other hand, will serveto divert the people’s attention from this threat that may havepotential future effects (Smith& Leiserowitz, 2014).Successfully understanding the courses and implications of climatechange will enable the provision of viable solutions in addressingthe problem and installing sustainable environmental managementmeasures. However, this calls for objective rather than subjectiveresearch and a clearly organized analysis of facts, data andinformation regarding the environment.
EnvironmentalPolitics and Economy
Theenvironment has significant impacts on the economy. In all countries,the environment plays a pivotal role in supporting various entitiesthat build up a nation’s economic structures (Betsill,Hochstetler & Stevis, 2014).Industries such as wildlife and tourism, agriculture, food productionamong several others are strongly linked to the environment.Arguably, all industries either directly or indirectly will rely onthe environment for particular requirements. This implies that anythreat to the environment has a similar effect on the industrialprocesses that might spill over to the economy. As such,environmental management is not to be ignored in any thrivingeconomy. The United Arab Emirates, for example, is striving toachieve noteworthy reduction of carbon emissions for sustainableenvironmental management (Kronenberg, 2013). The government has movedto support green industries. It has launched the Shams 1 SolarThermal Energy Project for sustainable energy production andencouraging the use of hybrid and electric cars that haveinsignificantly low or no carbon emissions (Salahuddin& Gow, 2014).Governments are spending more funds and grants on green technologiesand encouraging environmental research and studies for the sake ofmanaging environmental impacts. However, environmental politics isdissuading and discouraging governments from supporting environmentalresearch and studies (Revesz.,et al., 2014).This is because of the characteristic exaggerations, inappropriatespeculations and unnecessary and unreasonable alarms towardsenvironmental issues. In most cases, lack of objectivity inenvironmental and scientific research and studies has led to thewaste of billions of shillings in terms of government funding forsuch projects. This waste has negative economic implicationsconsidering the ineffectiveness of the studies hence unpredictableenvironmental implications. At the same time, the funds would haveotherwise been diverted into other areas of economic development.Consequently, environmental management for economic development ishampered, and governments are unable to install strategic policiesfor CSR with regards to environmental management.
Severalinterventions have been made regarding climate change andenvironmental management. These interventions have risen fromconcerns by nations and governments regarding the environmentalimpacts as a result of climate change and pollution (Revesz.,et al., 2014).As such, environmental policies and measures have been formulated andimposed to manage and control climate change. In cases where theenvironment is threatened and a precise estimation of the impacts andimplications could be assessed and predicted, and proven to impactsignificantly on the economy, drastic government interventions areimportant (Smith& Leiserowitz, 2014).In the interventions, governments may impose policies that reduceenvironmental emissions to insignificant levels. However, whicheverform of intervention used by the government in addressing climatechange and environmental concerns may still have implications for theeconomy. The interventions call for significant government support interms of funding (use of taxes) to support these interventions. Other interventions plans that have been used to address climateconcerns are auctioning of allowances by organizations andgovernments. For instance, the European Energy Exchange (EEX) and theICE Future Europe auction platforms that are concerned withauctioning of allowances with the aim of reducing emission ofgreenhouse gases in the support of climate change campaigns (Betsill,Hochstetler & Stevis, 2014).The US President, Barrack Obama in 2009 initiated a market-basedapproach to environmental management known as Cap-and-trade. Thesystem operated with companies allowed to buy and sell allowancesonly to end up with allowances equal to their carbon emissions. Whilethe system might contribute significantly to a substantial reductionof carbon emissions, there is the question of sustainability of theapproach and the long-term effectiveness (Kronenberg, 2013). Ideally,the method does not put to halt carbon emissions but substantiallydiscourages the emissions. At the long run, the environment is stillreceiving a lower amount of carbon emissions that would accumulate toharmful levels. This interventional approach is therefore not aviable solution to addressing climate change and environmentalpollutions. Essentially, organizations and governments shouldstrategize and prioritize sustainable solutions to environmentalmanagement, not only for the short term future but for long termcontrol of environmental impacts (Gupta 2014 and Zhou., et al, 2015).
Conclusively,climate change is real and a gradual occurrence that will impact onthe environment if not addressed. However, environmental politics hassignificantly hampered interests and environmental concerns not onlyfor governments but also for the general public. Cases ofexaggerated, falsified, unproven and contrasting information aboutthe environment by scientific and environment research bodies havebecome rampant causing massive confusion. This confusion hasunconsciously culminated into levels of disinterest and ignorance ofenvironmental issues. Whereas, government interventions inenvironmental management play a crucial role in environmentalconservation, environmental politics are stumbling blocks to suchinterventions and pose serious threats to the economy. Currently,most of the world is focused on environmental conservation withoutclear statistics and information about the accurate levels ofpollutions and the forecasted implications (Zhou., et al., 2015). Assuch, Barry& Frankland (2014) observe, humanactivity and industrial technologies continue posing threats to theenvironment and posing future threats on lives and also the economy.There is therefore a need for the establishment of more scientificbasis for environmental research and emphasis placed on intensive andin-depth research on environmental factors while discouragingenvironmental politics. This way, environmental researchers andstudies shall be more effective in delivering reliable results andpredictions for sustainable environmental management.
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