The changes in climatic patterns make it hard for some issues to be swept under the carpet there is need to address the climate change menace by trying to curb some of its causes and finding alternatives that wont take a toll on the climate. Climate change also known as global warming is the increase in average temperatures on the earth surface. This dramatic increase in surface temperature is mostly attributed to human beings burning fossil fuels which in-turn releases greenhouse gases in the air (carbon emissions) inclusive of carbon dioxide (CO2). When these gases are released in the atmosphere, they tend to trap heat in the atmosphere thus making it have different effects on the various ecosystems i.e. rising in sea levels, harsh weather events e.g. droughts which makes the landscapes vulnerable to wildfires (Takepart). For a deeper understanding regarding the decision made by President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris Accord signed in December 2015, this paper seeks to give an in-depth explanation and discussion on; - the effect economic growth has on carbon emissions, probable solutions to global warming, individual perspective on the matter, Public goods and its relation to carbon emissions and finally the Free rider problem and its role on public policy.
The Paris Accord
The Paris Accord signed by 196 countries, was something that had been in works since the failed climate change meeting in 2009, it required all the countries that had devoted and the world at large to abridge their greenhouse gas emissions and improve on their ambitions on the least percentage they could cut back on their emissions. The accord outlines the vital role that biodiversity, ecosystems, and the land can play regarding carbon emissions reduction and how they can assist countries and communities cut back on the risks and get used to the measures in place to combat climate change. In addition to that it lays emphasis on the importance of investing in nature, conserving the various ecosystems and shielding people from the dangers brought about by climate change (The Nature Conservancy).
Effects of economic growth on carbon emissions
There are 3 main economic sources that contribute a lot in carbon emission. These are the transportation, industries, and electricity. Transportation and Electricity are the major contributors of carbon emissions in the ecosystem. Majority of the industrialized countries still burn fossils for generation of electricity. Amongst the countries that signed the Paris Accord, an exception of Canada and France are the ones that have embraced the clean energy system. Generation of electricity is the highest in emitting of carbon dioxide. The electric sector produced 41% of carbon emissions in 2010.
The 2nd largest source of carbon emissions is the transport industry. This industry has been steadily growing over the years. Road transportation has contributed by over 70% of the fossil fuel emission. The production of affordable automobiles led to increase of purchases. The sector which use uses petroleum based fuels is energy intensive. Not only the automobiles, but also water and air transportation contributed to the emissions. Transportation of people and goods all over the world has increased rapidly over the years (Ackerman). Over the years, air transport has been one of the fastest growing industries that have contributed to carbon emissions making its growth to cause a heavy impact towards climate. Water transportation also has another impact on climate change. Heavy ships that deal in cargo transportation are the 2nd largest consumers of petroleum fuels. Oil spillages that are times caused by the ships have affected the aquatic life.
Most manufacturing facilities use fossil fuels to generate heat for production. Heating of raw materials such as limestone to create cement, the industry must heat up its furnace to 14500C. to reach and maintain such a heat degree the industry must burn a vast amount of fossil fuels.
In most countries, the production based and the consumption based emissions have increased through the years (Whats Your Impact). Developing countries which have increased productions have ventured into the construction of industries which still use fossil fuels for heat and generation of electricity. Chinas energy consumption has increased over the years (Storm), it has reflected the economic growth of the country. They are currently the highest consumers of cement and steel and amongst the highest emitters of carbon dioxide. China has invested a lot in the construction of manufacturing industry and has a readily available labor due to its high population. The Gulf Corporation Council, found out that the Asian countries are the largest consumers of petroleum and fossil fuels. This is due to the increase of production industries in those countries.
A public good is a commodity that a person can consume freely without curtailing its availability to another person or the general population. The markets, people of various social and economic class from wealthiest across to the destitute, everyone depends on these public goods and neither can forgo them. Some of the public goods include; - knowledge, peace, health, clean environment etc. Public goods are nonexcludable such that denying nonpayers from accessing and enjoying benefits of these resources is preposterous. Secondly, public goods are non-rivalrous such that consumption by one person does not in any way restrict consumption by other people consuming the commodity i.e. marginal cost of getting the public good to one extra individual is zero. If it gets to one individual, then the whole population can access it (Cowen).
Environmental resources have been considered as public goods, these include water, climate and bio diversity. They are of interest when considered in an economic perspective as they can contribute to market failure. Many people rely on being provided with public goods and are reluctant to find ways on improving their access to them. The government have set policies that help in protecting the consumption and pollution of the goods. The government tend to finance the maintenance of public goods such as parks and bridges with revenues collected from the people.
The climate is a public good that is being used by all countries of the world. Therefore, the Paris Accord was formed to help in protecting the climate. With the current economic growth, there has been an increase in carbon emissions in the atmosphere. This has been causing a steady climate change. Even though, economic growth is a positive development towards humans, but it has a negative effect towards the climate. Industries should revolutionise to clean energy and countries should try and emulate France and Canada.
Free rider problem and its role in the public policy
This problem normally arises in markets rather areas where the supply of a public good is not receded by the population consuming it; also its consumption has no restrictions. Its a market collapse that takes place when consumers take advantage of the availability of a common resource/ public good and exploit it to the fullest without pay to consume it, like a countrys populous utilizing public goods without giving their respective share of taxes. Some of the goods and services that can be acquired via free riding include; - clean water access, libraries, national defense, sanitation infrastructure etc.(Investopedia).
It usually occurs when the people use public goods in excessive but avoid o pay taxes for it; or when the government neglects its duty to service and protect the public goods from being abused or polluted. After the signing of the Paris Accord in 2016, and the policies discussed were to be implemented on protecting the climate. President Trump, in 2017 went ahead and withdrew America from the Accord. The Paris Accord was an interest group with the main agenda of protecting the earths climate and atmospheric change that was being caused by the carbon emissions. The American government withdrawal is a perfect example of a free rider.
Regarding whether global warming can be slowly alleviated to a point of eradication, I am optimistic that this menace can be dealt with accordingly if there can be a collective effort to curb it. At nation level, the member states who had agreed to cut back on the carbon emissions produced while in bid to constantly reduce the numbers, are key to championing for a better climate which in-turn would mean a better, safer and habitable environment. Investing in nature by considering the necessary conservation measures, taking care of the various ecosystems, biodiversity etc. are some of the things that give me the optimism for a better climate in future if there can be unconditional support from communities and the country to eradicate global warming. An important point to note, when it comes to the support being offered there should be no comparison on how much resource and effort channelled to towards it rather unity and desire to achieve a common goal.
In our contemporary society, Climate change is neither hearsay nor a fallacy spread by the media, it is recurrent menace that can only get worse when given a cold shoulder. Unlike the early 20 centuries and times that preceded it when climatic patterns were predictable due to the stability and purity of the atmosphere and the other factors that contribute to the change in weather patterns, human activities in our contemporary society have brought about rot in the climatic patterns. Direction in which the world was heading regarding this global warming menace and previous failed attempts to address issues gave the leaders a wakeup calls hence the signing of the Paris Accord. Global warming is something that can be controlled not by individual effort but by a collective effort from a single individual to country at large. If there can be monitoring of the way public goods are availed to the populous of a country and cooperation from the individuals, resorting to safer alternatives on activities that cause global warming then it can slowly be reduced to point of being under control.
The Nature Conservancy. Climate Change, The Paris Agreement. The Nature Conservancy https://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/urgentissues/global-warming-climate-change/the-paris-agreement-what-does-it-mean.xml
Whats Your Impact. Main sources of carbon dioxide emissions. N.P. http://whatsyourimpact.org/greenhouse-gases/carbon-dioxide-emissions
Cowen, Tyler.Public Goods.Library of Economics and Liberty. HYPERLINK "http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/PublicGoods.html" http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/PublicGoods.html
Investopedia.Free Rider Problem. Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/free_rider_problem.asp
Ackerman, Frank. Would passing climate legislation reduce our dependence on oil? Wordpress. HYPERLINK "https://lizstanton.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/would-passing-climate-legislation-reduce-our-dependence-on-oil/" \l "more-199" https://lizstanton.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/would-passing-climate-legislation-reduce-our-dependence-on-oil/#more-199
Takepart. What is climate change? Participant Media.https://www.takepart.com/flashcards/what-is-climate-change/
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