Tuesday, April 22, 2008

ECON 260: Topics Thread

If you are interested in talking about your paper or another topic in class on Wednesday or Friday, post a brief discussion of the topic below.

There are two main issues with oil: 1. Our use of oil is emmiting a lot of carbon, 2. oil is also running out, Can the second issue solve the first one?

I've always thought this was interesting, I think it applies to environmental econ. It brings up some other questions with it:
-does slowing down our use of oil make any sense if we're going to put the same total amount in the atmosphere in the long run?
-with oil gone will our alternatives be ay better for carbon emmisions?
i could also present my essay so far, on Palm oil biofuel.
Palm oil is a crop in malaysia that is a highly procutive source of biofuel. Biofuel has the possibility of being a much lower carbon emitter than oil, but depending on the farming practices and deforestation it could be much much worse.
On the first day of class, someone brought up the issue of population and said that they didn't think we would be able to really address environmental issues without addressing population issues. Since then we've looked at the Malthusian population trap and the Green Revolution. Do we still think that fundamentally the number of humans must be controlled, or do we think that technology will rise to the challenge?
Save for this current snow season, changing weather patterns have led to a decrease in the amount of average snowfall ski areas in places like Colorado, Utah and Vancouver B.C receive. With less snow comes a decrease in the tourism industry and a decrease in drinking water reserves. One proposed method to countering the decrease in snowfall has been to use a weather modification technology called cloud seeding (clouds are essentially injected with moisture so they produce more precipitation). Is this an appropriate method to use?
I also think it would be interesting to touch upon the topic of cloud seeding. It presents a problem because it is very cost effective (vail says it costs just as much to make snow on 8 aces of land one night, as it does to seed the clouds for a season), yet silver iodide, which is sometimes used, can cause health problems with extended exposure. Needless to say, it is very hard to measure how much extra snow fall can be attributed to seeding, or how detrimental long term ingestion of small amounts of silver iodide can be.....so, safety or efficiency?!

vail, cost making 8 acres =cloud seeding for a yea
I think that I want to discuss the Alaskan Way Viaduct debate in the context of a cost-benefit analysis. The viaduct is a double decker highway that runs along Alaskan Way on the Seattle, WA waterfront. For a long time, people have contemplated tearing it down, ultimately deciding that it is too costly. Instead, the city repairs the bridge continually to keep it relatively earthquake safe. Bu the fact of the matter is that the highway is built on a sort of created terrain of old mill (sawdust) remains (or so say my geologist teacher, Matt Brunengo). It also has several cracks in it that have developed in past earthquakes. The fact is, the costs of a worse case scenario (the big earthquake) are huge. Other costs include the high rate of emissions produced by cars on the highway. Some have proposed building a new, green monorail that runs along the waterfront in place of the viaduct. I will try to answer: WHAT SHOULD SEATTLE DO!
I realized that I didnt like my topic on international trade because I didnt even want to talk about it in class. So I have started researching packaging, over-packaging waste, its effects on the environment, and what steps other countries, especially in the EU, have taken to reduce packaging waste. I would like to talk about this new topic in class to get feed back on how people view consumption and the US current approach to packaging, which is not very efficient and far behind many other countries.
I'm looking at Mount Hood National Park and Wilderness area in terms of multiple use. I'm mostly focusing on the ski resorts relationship with the land but I'm also including information of other recreational uses.

ie Is skiing a negative impact on Mount Hood? or a benefit?
If anyone is interested in talking about it outside of class before Wednesday, my paper will be exploring the current state of the organic standard. I'm specifically interested in how the rapid growth of the organic food movement has degraded the standard and whether it's still worth paying on average 50% more for organic than conventional.
Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]