Presentation (PL 209)


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Presentation (PL 209)

  2. 2. Outline:I. Key Facts and ConceptsII. Global Ecological CrisisIII. International ResponseIV. In Search of a Sustainable Future
  3. 3. Key Facts: 7 Billion Humans
  4. 4. Key Concepts: The Tragedy of the Commons•“Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked intoa system that compels him to increase his herdwithout limit - in a world that is limited. Ruin is thedestination toward which all men rush, eachpursuing his own interest in a society that believesin the freedom of the commons.” (Hardin, 1968)
  5. 5. Key Concepts: Negative Externalities•A [negative] consequenceof an economic activity thatis experienced by unrelatedthird parties (i.e. factorypollution). Source:
  6. 6. Key Concepts: The Globality of Environmental Issues •the global commons: the physical and organic characteristics and resources of the entire planet–the air in the atmosphere and conditions on land and sea–on which human life depends and that is the common heritage of all humanity.•carrying capacity: the maximum number of humans andliving species that can be supported by a given territory. Source: World Politics: Trend and Transformation
  7. 7. Key Concepts: Ecopolotics•environmental security: a concept recognizing that environmentalthreats to global life systems are as dangerous as the threat of armedconflicts.•cornucopians: optimists who question limits-to-growth perspectivesand contend that markets effectively maintain a balance betweenpopulation, resources, and the environment.•neo-Malthusians: pessimists who warn of the global ecopoliticaldangers of uncontrolled population growth.•politics of scarcity: the view that the unavailability of resourcesrequired to sustain life, such as food, energy, or water, can underminesecurity in degrees similar to military aggression.•epistemic community: scientific experts on a subject of inquiry suchas global warming who are organized internationally as NGOs tocommunicate with one another and use their constructedunderstanding of “knowledge” to lobby for global transformations. Source: World Politics: Trend and Transformation
  8. 8. Global Ecological Crisis:Global Warming/Climate Change
  9. 9. Global Ecological Crisis: Global Warming/Climate Change•The UN team of hundreds of atmospheric scientists from around the worldknown as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) firstconclusively stated in 1995 its belief that global climate trends are “unlikely tobe entirely due to natural causes,” that humans are to blame for at least part ofthe problem, and that the consequences are likely to be very harmful andcostly.•Effects: sea level rise, more heat waves, more deadly storms and hurricanes,more drought, crop failure, species extinction, spread of tropical diseases, waterand food shortages. Sources: World Politics: Trend and Transformation, EPA
  10. 10. Global Ecological Crisis: Ozone Depletion•ozone layer: the protective layer ofthe upper atmosphere over the Earth’ssurface that shields the planet from thesun’s harmful impact on livingorganisms.•Ozone depletion is caused by CFCs,halons, and other chemical substances. Source: World Politics: Trend and Transformation
  11. 11. Global Ecological Crisis: Deforestation •deforestation: the process of clearing and destroying forests. •Over the past 8,000 years, the WRI estimates that almost half of the forests once covering the Earth have been converted. •In Brazil, deforestation roughly doubled in 2008 alone due in part to the dramatic expansion in agriculture aimed at producing farm-grown fuels. •“You can’t protect it. There’s too much money to be made tearing it down.” John Carter, founder of a nonprofit that promotes sustainable ranching in theSource: World Politics: Trend and Transformation Amazonian region.
  12. 12. Global Ecological Crisis: Desertification and Water Shortages•desertification: the creation of deserts dueto soil erosion, overfarming, anddeforestation, which converts cropland tononproductive, arid sand.•Water demand and water use in manyareas already exceed nature’s ability torecharge supplies, and demand seemsdestined to exceed supplies since groundwater overdraft and aquifer depletion areexpected to increase 18 percent between1995 and 2025. Source: World Politics: Trend and Transformation
  13. 13. Global Ecological Crisis:Desertification and Water Shortages
  14. 14. Global Ecological Crisis: Energy Supply and Demand •The International Energy Agency predicts that the world will be using 50 percent more oil by 2030. •85 percent of the surge in oil demand is occurring in emerging markets such as China, India, and the Middle East. •For every two barrels of oil pumped out of the ground, the giant oil companies discover only one new barrel. •70 percent of the oil consumed today was found twenty-five years ago or longer. •The price of oil as a commodity is extremely volatile. On July 11, 2008, the price of a barrel of oil hit an all time high at $147.27, but just five monthsSource: World Politics: Trend andTransformation later the price had fallen to $32.40.
  15. 15. Global Ecological Crisis: Energy Supply and Demand
  16. 16. Global Ecological Crisis: Energy Supply and DemandHave we hit Peak Oil?“The evidence is that in spite of the increases - very large increases - in oil prices over the last fouryears, we havent been able to match that with increasing capacity. So, essentially, we are on a plateau.”Sadad al-Huseini - former head of exploration and production at Saudi Aramco, 31st October, 2007 Source:
  17. 17. Global Ecological Crisis: Energy Supply and Demand•BP Oil Spill (Gulf of Mexico, 2010): biggest oil spill in U.S. history; 200million gallons spilled;16,000 miles of coastline affected; over 8,000 animals(birds, turtles, mammals) reported dead six months after spill; close to $40billion in fines, cleanup costs, and settlements. Source:
  18. 18. Global Ecological Crisis: Overfishing •overfishing: the overexploitation of fisheries by subsistence, artisanal, recreational and commercial fishing can result in the mortality of target and non- target species. •A study published in the journal Nature shows that 90 percent of all large fishes have disappeared from the worlds oceans in the past half century, a result of overfishing.•Many Pacific societies, particularly those in SoutheastAsia, Central America and the South Pacific islands,depend on commercial or artisanal fishing for dailysurvival. Source: The Center For Ocean Solutions
  19. 19. Global Ecological Crisis: Ocean Pollution•Pollution can smother marine life, causeharmful algal blooms and hypoxic zones,and alter food web dynamics.•Plastics pose a particularly severethreat; an estimated 90% of floatingdebris in the ocean is plastic, which cantake hundreds of years to break down atsea.•"Great Pacific Garbage Patch” is apolluted area that covers approximately8 million sq. km. — larger than the entireUnited States. Source: The Center For Ocean Solutions
  20. 20. Global Ecological Crisis: Shrinking Biodiversity •biodiversity: Earth’s variety of life. •three basic levels of organization in living systems: genetic diversity, species diversity, and ecosystem diversity. •German Environmental Minister Sigmar Gabriel estimated that “up to 150 species become extinct every day.” Source: World Politics: Trend and Transformation
  21. 21. International Response:•U.N. Environmental Programme (UNEP): an international institution that coordinates United Nationsenvironmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies andpractices.•Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): UN team of hundreds of atmospheric scientistsfrom around the world; established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the UNEP.•Kyoto Protocol (1997, 2005): an international agreement linked to the United Nations FrameworkConvention on Climate Change, which commits its parties by setting internationally binding emissionreduction targets.•Battle for Arctic resources and sea routes: geopolitical struggle between states over the naturalresources and waterways of the Arctic (includes Russia, Norway, Canada, the United States, and Denmark).•Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer treaty (1987): ratified by 196 parties;has led to a huge 90 percent reduction since the late 1980s in global atmospheric concentrations of CFCs.• U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (1992): the convention recognized for the first time ininternational law that the conservation of biological diversity is "a common concern of humankind" and isan integral part of the development process.•International Whaling Commission (IWC): an international body set up in 1946 to "provide for theproper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whalingindustry."•Rio+20: the third international conference on sustainable development aimed at reconciling theeconomic and environmental goals of the global community; held in 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.•Global North vs. Global South Sources:, World Politics: Trend and Transformation,
  22. 22. In Search of a Sustainable Future:•sustainable development: economicgrowth that does not deplete theresources needed to maintain life andprosperity.•Brundtland Commission (1987):concluded that the world cannot sustainthe growth required to meet the needsand aspirations of the world’s growingpopulation unless it adopts radicallydifferent approaches.•Solar, tidal, and wind power, as well asgeothermal energy and bioconversion,are among the alternatives to oil mostlikely to become technologically andeconomically viable. Source: World Politics: Trend and Transformation
  23. 23. In Search of a Sustainable Future:
  24. 24. Happy Earth Day!