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Global Environmental Issues

Global Environmental Issues

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Global Environmental Issues

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  1. Global Environmental Issues Molly Kile, ScD ENVRE-115 Fall 2010

  2. Announcements • Assignment #2 due Sept 30 • Teaching Assistants • Ricardo: in class • Junenette: on line • Grades will be returned to you via your drop box • Schedule a midterm review for October 14 after class • Questions on the book report ? • “Creating a World Without Poverty” Muhammad Yunus • “The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time” Jeffrey D. Sachs • “Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble” Lester R. Brown • “The Sustainable Company” Chris Laszlo • “How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition” David Bornstein

  3. Graduate Student Project • Individual assignment • A funding proposal that will address resource use that is related to a real-world development issue • Identify your topic and get the permission of either Dr Jalal or Kile by Oct 21 • Instructions posted on website http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k72216&pageid=icb.page382521

  4. Agenda For Today • Ecological footprint • Global environmental assessment • Environmental Impact Assessments • Linking development to environmental quality (Kuznet’s curve)

  5. Ecological Footprint • Do you believe the ecological footprint is a useful metric of sustainability? • What is it actually measuring?

  6. Ecological Footprint Results Question 5If everyone lived like you, how many planets would we need? • 1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5 • 6 • more than 6 This means it takes 36 more months for the Earth’s ecosystems to regenerate what we are using in a single year.

  7. www.NationMaster.com SOURCE: World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), Living Planet Report 2000

  8. Global Human Footprint For how long can this go on? • Humanity’s demand will be twice the biosphere’s productive capacity in 2050 • A moderate business-as-usual scenario, based on United Nations projections of slow, steady growth of economies and populations

  9. What is causing ecosystem change? Direct Driver- influences ecosystem processes Habitat change Over-exploitation Invasive alien species Pollution Climate change Indirect Driver-collectively these drivers influence the level of production & consumption of ecosystem services Population changes Economic activities Socio-political/Governmental factors Cultural factors Technological changes

  10. Humanity’s Ecological Footprint • We appropriate ⅓-½ of global ecosystem production for human consumption • We have converted over half the ice-free, desert-free land surface to croplands or pasture • We use roughly half the planet’s accessible fresh water • Net loss of half the temperate and tropical forests on the planet • Three quarters of monitored fisheries are fished at, or beyond, sustainable limits • 60% of the world’s rivers are affected by 45,000 large dams and 800,000 smaller dams • Species extinctions roughly 1,000 times natural rate

  11. Humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively in the last 50 years than in any other period • More than 60% of major ecosystem services are in decline • Changes are accelerating

  12. The harmful effects of degradation are being borne disproportionately by the poor—a recurring theme. • Substantial and largely irreversible loss in diversity of life on Earth, with some 10 to 30 % of the mammal, bird and amphibian species currently threatened with extinction • “any progress achieved in addressing the MDGs of poverty and hunger eradication, improved health, and environmental sustainability is unlikely to be sustained if most of the ecosystem services on which humanity relies continue to be degraded.”

  13. Excellent resources: http://www.greenfacts.org/en/ecosystems/index.htm http://www.maweb.org/en/index.aspx

  14. A Civilization in Trouble and Exciting New Options Not every collapse has an environmental origin, but an eco-meltdown is often the main catalyst. Scientists suspect we have entered a time of global change swifter than any human being has ever witnessed. Where are we headed? What can we do to alter this course of events? The vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is real, it’s already happening and that it is the result of our activities and not a natural occurrence. The evidence is overwhelming and undeniable.

  15. 2 billion malnourished 1 billion overweight

  16. Source: Sam Myers

  17. More land was converted to cropland in the 30 years after 1950 than in the 150 years between 1700 and 1850. • More than half of all the synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, first made in 1913, ever used on the planet has been used since 1985.

  18. Nitrogen Cycle

  19. We have: • Approximately doubled the rate of nitrogen input into the terrestrial nitrogen cycle; with rates still increasing • Increased concentrations of the potent greenhouse gas N2O globally, as well as increased concentrations of other oxides of nitrogen that drive the formation of photochemical smog • Caused losses of soil nutrients, such as calcium and potassium, essential for the long-term maintenance of soil fertility • Contributed to the acidification of soils, streams, and lakes in several regions • Greatly increased the transfer of nitrogen through rivers to estuaries and coastal oceans. Vitouseket al. 1997

  20. Sources of mineral fertilizers?

  21. Haber-Bosch Process (1908-10): industrial “fixation”of atmospheric nitrogen to form ammonia

  22. What was the Green Revolution?

  23. Dwarf varieties • No increase in growth rate, photosynthesis, germination speed... • allows greater seed yield without lodging (falling over); so can take advantage of high levels of inorganic fertilizers • greater “harvest index”-ratio of harvested grain to total biomass produced (wheat in 1935 ~.35, in modern varieties up to .55)

  24. Estimated inorganic nitrogen deposition from nitrate and ammonium, 1998

  25. Disruption of the phosphorous cycle in Mississippi due to fertilizer run-off

  26. Loss of wetlands and restructuring wetlands in Louisiana removes natural nutrient filtration SOURCE: USGS

  27. Gulf of Mexico "Dead Zone“Hypoxic Zone – depleted oxygen

  28. Impacts of Hypoxic Zone Reduce food resources for fish and shrimp Reduced abundance of fish and shrimp Decline in shrimp catch and catch efficiency Loss of production potential due to the blocked migration of juvenile shrimp offshore by the presence of hypoxic zone Increased abundance of Pseudo-nitschia diatoms (several species produce domoic acid) Mississippi Watershed is a slow timescale– will take decades to reach a sustainable nitrogen & phosphorous cycle Diaz & Solow, 1999

  29. Marine Hypoxic Zones Sources: Boesch 2002, Caddy 2000, Diaz and others (in press), Green and Short 2003, Rabalais 2002

  30. Altering the structure of an ecosystem (habitats or species) can influence the services provided by a particular ecosystem Alter Structure, Alter Function Agriculture Nitrogen & Phosphorous cycle • Fisheries

  31. Balancing Development and Environmental Impacts

  32. “To say that infrastructure development has impact is to state the obvious. No industrial country has advanced to such status without developing solid infrastructure facilities. And no low-income country has managed to escape poverty in the absence of infrastructure. In addition to economic growth, infrastructure development has a very tangible impact on people's daily lives, and especially on the lives of poor people ” - Liqun Jin Vice President, ADB

  33. Infrastructure development Economic Growth Poverty reduction and economic development depend on sustained growth Growth depends on productive activities supported by roads, railways, seaports and airports, power generation and transmission and other infrastructure services

  34. Improve Infrastructure  Decrease Poverty Predicated on two assumptions: Infrastructure development is managed well and in a cost-effective manner so as to reduce constraints to economic activities by lowering the cost of doing business and creating job opportunities Direct revenue generation from infrastructure projects are allocated to improving human capital (education, health, and other vital social services)

  35. Well-designed and well-managed infrastructure investment allows a government to broaden the horizons and raises the intellectual capital of the society as a whole Mobilizes resources which stimulates financial sector development institutional capacity building human resources development legal and regulatory buildup Improve Infrastructure  Build Capacity

  36. What is an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)? • “an important procedure for ensuring that the likely effects of new development on the environment are fully understood and taken into account before the development is allowed to go ahead” (DETR and National Assembly for Wales, 1999)

  37. Origins and History of EIA In United States US National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1970 Requires federal agencies to consider environmental impacts of their proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions Goals of NEPA Each generation is a trustee of the historical, cultural, and natural environment for succeeding generations Assure a safe, healthful, productive, and aesthetically and culturally pleasing surroundings for all Americans Attain the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment without degradation, risk to health or safety, or other undesirable and unintended consequences Enhance the quality of renewable resources

  38. Origins and history of EIA In Europe • In 1977 the European Commission began drafting a directive on EIA and finally published a proposal in 1980 • Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment – the ‘EIA Directive’ was adopted in July 1985 and Member States had until 3 July 1988 to implement its requirements • European Commission’s web pages on environmental assessment http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/eia/home.htm

  39. International Banks World Bank requires EIAs as of 1989 Apply to any Bank-financed or implemented projects Natural environment Human health and safety Social aspects (involuntary resettlement, indigenous peoples, and physical cultural resources) Transboundary and global environmental aspects Designed to be used as a tool to improve project performance and sustainability Asian Development Bank requires environmental assessments http://www.adb.org/Projects/reports.asp?key=reps&val=ERD

  40. Guiding Principles of EIA Transparency Participation Practicality EIA “ a systematic process of identifying future consequences of a current or proposed action” Feasibility Cost-effective Credibility Certainty Accountability 8 Guiding Principles

  41. A. Project Concept/Identification Initial stage of the project planning Basic nature of the project is known including the site(s) where the project is being proposed to be implemented “Screen” project to determine if project requires a full EIA

  42. Screening • Identify environmental issues of concern • Determine whether EIA is needed • Establish need for project Environmental impact Project Economic impact Require EIA Impacts unclear Not require EIA Social impact

  43. B. Pre-feasibility Stage “Scope” the project to identify issues/impacts for investigation Methods forScoping Making a plan for public involvement Evaluating the significance of issues Identifying major issues of public concern Distribution of information to interested parties Establishing priorities for environmental assessment Developing a strategy for addressing priorities

  44. C. Feasibility Stage Conduct the EIA and determine if the project is viable Magnitude of impact- indicate whether the impact is irreversible or, reversible and estimated potential rate of recovery Extent of impact- spatial extent of impacts should be determined Duration of Impact- arising at different phases of the project cycle and the length of the impact [e.g. short term (during construction-9 yrs), medium term (10-20 yrs), long term (20+ yrs)]

  45. D. Implement & Audit the Project The EIA is a "reference" guide during implementation Outlines mitigation strategies and monitoring schemes Preventative measures- reduce potential adverse impacts before occurrence Compensatory measures- compensate for unavoidable adverse impacts Corrective measures- reduces the adverse impact to an acceptable level Recommendations can be incorporated into contracts Audit project after completion to identify lessons learned