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Environmental issues and economics

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Environmental issues and economics Economic growth, unemployment and a better standard of living have always been the main objectives on the agenda of economists throughout the world. The environment is and has always been the major attribution to achieving these goals as it is the source of natural resources, many amenities and as a place to dump whatever waste, whenever necessary. Up to the 1960s there had never been the awareness of problems affecting the environment's role. The population started to grow rapidly since the industrial revolution, first in the west and then in the 20th century developing countries followed. Today the world population is over 6 billion and in relation to the rate of economic growth there has been a mass of extra pressure put on the environment. There is a great list of issues, disasters and environmental problems that have been discovered during the last forty years that are on the constant agenda of the majority of economist's decisions and that are in desperate need of a solution. Some economists choose to dismiss the issue altogether, for example the USA who make up only 5% of the population, yet contribute to using 25% of the world's energy and produce 22% of the world's CO2. ...read more.


to pay welfare state (help the poor) which inevitably boosted aggregate demand, harming the environment. Since about 1970 the concept of sustainable development has been more widely discussed. Sustainable development is about economic growth being the cause of damage to the environment. An economist named R.K. Turner once quoted that sustainable development is "to leave future generations an amount of wealth, which is at least equal to that inherited by the current generation". Agenda 21 set up in 1992 was an attempt to solve this world problem for the generations. It was a conference in Rio where all the countries governments agreed to an outline plan to protect the environment, especially global warming. To follow this attempt, a further conference was set up in 1997 in Kyoto. In this conference legally binding targets were introduced to reduce CO2 emissions with the exception of developing countries that were allowed to increase CO2 emissions up to a limit as they industrialise. In order to apply these individual targets set for the environment within a country would have to produce an evaluation to establish whether the benefits are greater than the costs to the environment before starting a project. ...read more.


Subsequently this makes us aware of the damage caused to the environment and demand contracts to OQ2. The problems that arise however with indirect taxation are that the poor are consequently more affected than the rich are. One strategy that is now in the progress of being experimented within the USA that requires a combination of both the private and government sector. This involves the issuing of "permits to pollute". This allows firms/ businesses to compete amongst themselves after the government has set up a structure by which permits are sold for the right to pollute. Over several years the permits are then cut and it is left to the private sector companies to compete with each other or to put investment into efficient power generators that are more environmentally friendly that require less or no need for permits. It is clear that there are many arising environmental issues becoming apparent to the economist throughout the stages of meeting government policies. Despite that there has been noticeable actions taken out since these problems have been discovered, there is still a long way to go. Sources: "Economics" Third Edition - Alain Anderton Pages - 77, 175, 395-404, 379, 76, 125, 121-122, 400, 76, 401-403, 458, 77, 121, 400 "Economics Today - Back to Basics: Externalities" November 1995 ...read more.

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