Government Regulation of Climate Change Essay
Government Regulation of Climate Change
For all nations, adapting to climate change has become a key issue. Governments are mandated to formulate policies aimed at safe guarding lives and livelihoods for their people and at the same time attain their development goals. As cities continue to grow, more people moving to urban centers, and nations working to become industrialized, climate change is here to stay, all that can be done is formulation of policies that will help reduce and adapt to the change. These regulations should put into consideration sustainability.
In its short term policy, the government has formed a wide array of public private partnerships aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions. Focus is put on use of renewable energy, efficient use of energy, methane and other non carbon gases agricultural practices, and projects to achieve reduction in greenhouse gas emission. ( U. S. Climate Policy and Actions) . In its quest to reduce green gas emissions, the government has established a multi agency climate change technology programs to develop and implement the technologies.
Climate change being a global challenge, no nation can satisfactorily claim to have fought it within its jurisdiction. It is on this ground that the government has formed international cooperation with other nations in areas of science, mitigation and environmental monitoring. To some extent, large (mostly industrializes nations) green gas emitters are made to compensate the small (developing world) green gas emitters. The government has set threshold for green gas emissions. These defines the acceptable limits of green gas emissions by firms . The regulations here targets large and stationary greenhouse gas emitters.
EPA estimates these large emitters to contribute about 70% of green house gases in the country (EPA regulatory initiative, p3). Programs targeting reduced green gas emission and increased fuel economy for cars and trucks used in United States have been established. Under the regulation general suppliers of fossil fuel and industrial green house gases, manufacturers of vehicles and engines and any other green gas emitting facility that emits above 250000metric tonnes of green house gases annually to submit annual reports to the regulation body EPA. These regulations aim at collecting timely information for better planning.
Different views have been given on climate change . Arguments that there is no scientific proof showing that increase in global temperature is brought about by heat trapping gases in the atmosphere have been raised. It also has been claimed that despite the claims that these gases are as a result of man’s activities, for instance burning of fossil oil or deforestation, still no scientific proof on this has been given. In his view Brzorad, scientists in addition to doing their work, have other motives, their research are at times biased based on the desired outcome .
The bias could be politically motivated, need for firms to make more profit, or personal urge for recognition (p2). In my view, climate change is a reality. As a result of industrialization, increased life expectancy and a generally growing population, human activity is putting pressure on the limited natural resources. These acts of man has led to more green house gases being generated from power plants, automobiles and other firms accumulating in the atmosphere, trapping heat from the sun and increasing global temperatures. Policy makers have several options to choose from as they consider how to reduce green gas emissions.
Of the many options, the most practical ones are command and control regulation where regulatory authorities directs on how emission limits will be achieved, and the incentive based regulation where forces of supply and demand are used to change behavior and achieve environmental goals. Command and control regulation are enforced by fines if pollution is above the set limits or threshold. In this system, pollution is monitored and laws enforced. This is done either under a tax regime or a regulatory regime. The system applies uniform emission limits on polluters despite each firm having a different cost on emission reduction.
The regime is considered rigid as it also controls the emitter choices on how to reduce emissions. In the incentive based regulation, pollution reduction is achieved through tradable emission limits where and if allowed pollution can be achieved at lower costs. It is a market based approach to pollution reduction achieved by providing economic incentives. In this system, a regulatory body or the government sets a limit on the amount of a pollutant that can be emitted. The limits are sold to firms in forms emission permits. Each firm is required to hold permits equivalent to its emission.
Each firm is only entitled to a certain specific number of permits. A firm emits higher levels of pollutant than the maximum allowed permits then the firm buys the extra permits from other firms. In the set up, the buyer pays for extra pollutant while the seller is rewarded for causing less harm to the environment. The approach leaves the burden of reducing emission to the emitter. It offers reduced social cost due to its flexibility. It also creates a single price for emission. If in Federal Congress or administration, I would recommend an incentive based approach for greenhouse gases.
These gases have the same effect on the environment regardless of where pollution is occurring and are also perfectly mixing. The approach gives the polluter the freedom to look for most economical ways to reduce emission and continually reduce emissions to be below the set standard to avoid buying more permits or enjoy selling the permits if emission is blow the set standards. For other types of pollutants, including solid waste I would recommend command and control regulation the polluter would be made to pay for the actual damage made to the environment.
List of references Brzorad John, (Feb. 9, 2009) opposing views on climate change. Retrieved from http://www2. hickoryrecord. com/content/2009/feb/05/just-science-opposing-views-climate-change/news-opinion National Center for Environmental Economics (May 31, 2010). Retrieved from http://yosemite. epa. gov/ee/epa/eed. nsf/3cdbd09d7c867d9785256c9200548b12/988c90eb8ee77035852574ce000e9724! OpenDocument U. S. Climate Policy and Actions (February 22, 2010). Retrieved from http://www. epa. gov/climatechange/policy/index. html