environment

Top CO2 polluters and highest per capita

Top CO2 polluters and highest per capita

The biggest absolute emissions come from China and the United States. In terms of CO2 emissions per capita, China is ranked only ranked 47th, at 7.5 metric tonnes per capita. The US is ranked 11th at 16.5 per capita and amongst countries with sizeable populations, has the highest CO2 emissions per capita. India is the third highest country in terms of absolute emissions, but only 158th in terms of per capita output with 1.7 metric tonnes per capita. Selected countries CO2 emissions per capita

Economics and the environment

Readers Question: Is it possible to construct the economic system so that does not rely on expanded growth which as we all know, is damaging the environment? causing pollution e.t.c. Could we have a society without economic growth? or as economists might prefer to answer – Can we have environmentally sustainable economic growth? To promote an economic system without economic growth isn’t necessary. It is possible to have economic growth (increased output and living standards) whilst…

kuznets-environment

Environmental Kuznets curve

The environmental Kuznets curve suggests that economic development initially leads to a deterioration in the environment, but after a certain level of economic growth, a society begins to improve its relationship with the environment and levels of environmental degradation reduces. From a very simplistic viewpoint, it can suggest that economic growth is good for the environment. However, critics argue there is no guarantee that economic growth will lead to an improved environment – in fact, the opposite is often the case. At the least, it requires a very targeted policy and…

Policies to reduce pollution

Policies to reduce pollution

What policies can a government use to reduce pollution? Pollution is a negative externality – a cost to society. To reduce pollution, the government can use four main policies – tax to raise the price, subsidise alternatives, regulations to ban certain pollutants and pollution permits.Government policies to reduce pollutionTax. e.g. Carbon tax, which makes people pay the social cost of pollution. Subsidy. e.g. subsidy of alternative energy sources. Pollution permits, e.g. carbon trading schemes where firms are given the right…

How can an economist save the Rain Forest?

How can an economist save the Rain Forest?

Readers Question: Endangered rain forests, wild fish, elephants and more are examples of the tragedy of the commons. What would economists recommend to save, rain forests or fish stocks?   Firstly, the tragedy of the commons  is a situation where there is overconsumption of a particular product / service because rational individual decisions lead to an outcome that is damaging to the overall social welfare. The problem with rain forests is that people may feel an…

Difficulty in switching from fossil fuels and oil

Question and answers on the difficulty of switching from non-renewable energy sources, such as fossil fuels. (from – finding alternatives to fossil fuels) Readers Question: Why is it that on a global scale, alternative fuels are somewhat being ignored?   Firstly, fossil fuels are still cheaper. However, the gap is narrowing. For example, see how solar panels are coming down in costs. There…

Global warming and tax cuts on petrol

Global warming and tax cuts on petrol

The other day, I had a quick glance at the newspaper headlines, whilst in a service station.UN Report on global warming states global warming is a real threat to the future of the planet. To contain these changes will require “substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions”. Chancellor announces yet more freezes on fuel duty.It seemed a paradox to have both headlines on the same day. At the very least, we could enable a small increase in tax on fossil fuels causing the problem.