Sunday, August 2, 2015

Climate Change: Some of the Challenges and Solution Approaches

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to attend a presentation delivered by Dr. William Jaeger who is the author of several books along with articles about natural resource and environmental issues. Jaeger's research encompasses energy, land and water use, taxation, sustainable development.  Many people tend to believe that environmental issues are simple problems that can be easily identified, evaluated, and solved with a simple policy or approach.  It is important for us to understand that evaluating the risks and costs of environmental degradation is a very complex task.   Because of the inherent complexity, scientists continue to develop innovative ways to help alleviate the crisis of climate change and over the years they have devised different methods that can be applied to different circumstances.

According to Dr. Jaeger, it becomes difficult to ascertain with accuracy the extent of the possible adverse consequences of pollution and the associated costs.  He stressed that finding solutions to environmental problems is a complex task because it involves dreary collective bargaining, the issue of efficiency, the question of equity, the challenge of measuring costs, the issue of intangibility.

Dr. Jaeger discussed a few of the tools available to alleviate environmental problems which includes regulation standards, public works, and market based approaches.  He also noted that the tools available are debatable approaches as each produces variable results.  One of the tools used by environmental scientists to evaluate costs and benefits is computer simulation programs.  However, Jaeger recognizes that evaluating costs using computer simulation software has its own drawbacks because the program can produce environmental degradation probabilities with a too wide margin of error.  Another tool, according to Dr. Jagger, is the public works approach but it can create situations in which individuals charged with the management of public natural resources tend to seek benefits for themselves, certainly neglecting their ethical and public responsibility.  He also noted that the regulation standards approach produces mixed results.

Despite the impediments that exist to reach accord about environmental goals, Dr. Jaeger enumerated some of the methods we can employ to overcome the obstacles of organization.  He argues in favor of using international trade penalties on environmental negligent countries, and the need to use litigation against firms or individuals causing damage to the environment.  He argues that the revenue obtained from trade penalties can be used to subsidy poor countries to take actions that protect the environment.  In the view of Dr. Jaeger, market based approaches are the least costly and more efficient than other policy methods because the market has the capacity to adjust to government regulations.  Moreover, he argues that the market has the capacity to innovate and produce environmentally friendly goods such as fuel efficient cars, hybrids cars, and other products.  We can all do our part to protect the environment by taking basic approaches such as using energy efficient products and purchasing Eco-friendly merchandises.

If you would like to learn more about challenges of assessing climate challenge and the approaches used to alleviate the crisis, click the links below:

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