Environment Economics Report

Environment Economics Report


Over the years, land cover change has had a tremendous impact on the climate patterns. These effects have been projected to intensify in the future if solutions are not found. As a scholar whose course mainly covers the current trends in climate change and the conservation measures, I had an interest in gaining more knowledge on the above issue. Therefore, I purposed to attend an event that could enlighten me on the most appropriate land cover management strategies for improved climate. The following is a detailed report of my attendance at such event and the insights I gained.

Event Title: Climatic Impacts of Land Cover Change.

Date and Time: September 18, 2015.

Event Speaker: Rezaul Mahmood from the Department of Geography and Geology Western Kentucky University.

Event Sponsor: Kentucky Climate Center, Western Kentucky University.

The Purpose of the Event: To enlighten on the impacts of land cover change on the environment.

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Findings from the event revealed that Land Cover Change (LCC) modifies the surface roughness, length, and energy partitioning. The event detailed the findings from a harmonized study of ground measurements and observations of Land Cover Change and Land Management changes (LMC). The study showed that in the temperate areas, latent surface cooling from intensified albedo is offset by warming from the diminished sensible heat fluxes. The net effect is the increased surface temperatures. The biophysical consequence of this change is the modification of land-surface atmosphere interactions. Such changes can be noted in the location and timing of cloud cover development and convection, precipitation, temperature, and atmospheric humidity.

The event continued to detail on the case study conducted in the Ogallala Aquifer Region. The results of the study portrayed the impact of land cover change on climate. The results indicated that the impact of meso- and regional-scale LCC on climate is obvious and significant. The impacts of land cover change on sub-continental scale climate were also evident. However, LCC and climate teleconnection remained unresolved. A post-study analysis also found that the global-scale model sensitivity studies suggest that drastic LCC can impact the climate of remote regions. Recent studies also indicate that in some regions, the consequences of LCC can be equal or larger than the impacts of increased level of carbon dioxide.

Economic Analysis of the Problems

Source of Market Failure

Economic explanations for environmental problems and environmental policy recommendations are majorly based on the theories of market failure (Molders, 2012). In the case of Ogallala region depleting environment, the source of market failure lies in externalities and property rights. The environmental well-being of the Ogallala region is affected by both individual human trace gas emissions and poor land use practices. The resultant conditions are soil erosion and dust storms that lead to desertification. Poor distribution of land cover also adversely impact the climates vulnerability to the increased amount of carbon dioxide. There is a clear indication that people do not pay for the damage inflicted on the land cover and the environment. A close analysis indicates that it is highly unlikely that the people responsible for the land damage would undertake carbon orchestration if there are no individual benefits. Nevertheless, the society as a whole would not profit from this. The divergence between social and private costs results in suboptimal land use decisions (Grafton, 2012). In the Ogallala region like in many other areas, the issue of property rights concerning the atmosphere or climate is not always clearly defined. Hence, there are no means to determine who cannot use the environment. Similarly, the Ogallala Aquifer is a resource that is freely available with teh management being the responsibility of no one. Thus, there is no motivation for people to improve the quality of climate since the individual benefits are somewhat negligible, and the costs are substantial.

Implications of the Problem

According to the resolution of the event, the implications of the problem highlighted were efficiency-oriented. The externalities in Ogallala region limit economic efficiency. Poor land use by individual parties leads to market failures and imperfections. The failures in land cover change because of the increased level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Hence economic efficiency in this area can be achieved only if the externalities are internalized.

Solutions to the Problems

Key solutions to the problem of climatic impact on land cover change were presented at the event. However, the solutions were not market-based because they did not incorporate the costs associated with the problems. The command and control theory was suggested to alleviate the problem. It was recommended that people should be informed of their land pollution and degradation practices as well as the products and technology to use on the land. Every individual would be expected to use the same facilities and technology. It was also recommended that policy makers and scientists evaluate and select socially acceptable responses on policy to address climate-related environmental changes. Such policies could include land use and management decisions. Temperature variations from LCC and land management change were of the same importance. Hence, given the spatial magnitude of land management, there was a recommendation to increase the efforts to incorporate land management in Earth science. The move would lead to more accountability by human beings on the impact on climate.

The Efficacy of the Solutions

When it comes to the efficiency, the command and control theory may not be an appropriate choice. The theory ignores the fact that the cost of handling environmental problems may vary depending on the labor force, production, and quality of the equipment (Deng, Guneralp, Zhan, & Su, 2014). Hence setting uniform standards may not appropriately address the market problems due to the high costs associated. Additionally, there would be lesser incentives for individuals to go further than the requirements of the regulations. Appropriate solutions would be market-based such as employing pollution charges and tradable permits. Such solutions would connect the incentive (environment protection) to the economy (Robbins et al., 2011). As a consequence, cost efficient processes would be ensured.

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