Environment Science and Society
Tools & Resources. Open Search Box. share. You are here. Home ›; News & Events ›. The Relationship between Science and Romanticism in Popular Today, popular environmental writers do not look toward the entirety of the . knowledge of photon-gas interactions, while a biologist would study gases. Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical, biological Related areas of study include environmental studies and environmental engineering. Key elements of an effective environmental scientist include the ability to relate space, and time relationships as well as quantitative. NIEHS Resources for Scientists | Search a directory of NIEHS research tools and resources to help environmental health scientists incorporate economic.
It has therefore been difficult to place value on environmental goods and their deterioration. Environmental economics seeks to establish a framework within which such valuations can be made.
Assessment of the viability of the different valuation methods available will provide environmental economists and policy makers with a framework within which environmental goods can be valued and thus incorporated into conventional market economics.
A great deal about environmental degradation and its associated effects is uncertain. It is impossible to know when an incident of environmental deterioration started. Once the degradation has been valued and its future benefits and losses computed economists need to know how to spread those benefits and costs among future generations. Recent research indicates that behaviour towards environmental risk does not follow the expected pattern, perhaps because individuals have little experience of how they might react in a disastrous environmental event.
Research carried out by Task Force 1 is expanding current economic theory to make it more capable of encompassing uncertainty. The costs of emission control must be calculated if they are eventually to be borne by national or international governments. In order to build the cost of emission control into macroeconomics, an adequate micro view must first be established. Valuation techniques 3 sorts of valuation techniques will be considered a The use of conventional markets entails valuing environmental degradation as the loss of economic production that the degradation has precipitated.
Building the unknown into economic theory a Intertemporal distributional issues of valuation spreading the benefits and costs of the deterioration of a particular environmental resources over one or several generations the economic consequences of such decisions computation of "environmental interest rates" when environmental degradation jeopardises future productivity b Building in uncertainty the "width" of the ripple of degradation the extension into the future of the effects c Building in environmental risk extension of the "Expected Utility" approach to explain attitudes to environmental risk reflection in environmental economics of a change in the degree of risk experienced 3.
The use of economic instruments is potentially an efficient way of encouraging environmental protection. Task Force 2 is concentrating on the scientific and methodological aspects of the economic evaluation of environment policy instruments. The major types of economic instrument are: When pollution is avoided by returning such products to a collection system, a refund is made market creation - where an artificial market is created within which players can trade the rights to perform certain potentially polluting practices enforcement incentives - where a usually financial penalty is charged for non-compliance.
The long-term efficiency and effectiveness of these different economic instruments in curbing environmental degradation is subject to considerable uncertainty. Task Force 2 carries out comparative analysis of the performance of different instruments and different mixes of instruments. Members of the Task Force hope to be in a position to recommend new combinations of instruments to tackle environmental destruction.
Theoretical and analytical work on the economics of policy instrument choice a effectiveness and efficiency relative effectiveness of various economic instruments efficiency of economic instruments vis-a-vis other types of instruments b choice of instruments in relation to administrative, environmental and economic contexts sustainability of market creation over an indefinite period of time deposit-refund systems as the best choice within a given administrative system 2.
Empirical work on the use of incentives, and the failure of policies and markets in practice.
The focus will be on: Efforts to curb major threats like global warming and acid rain necessitate international co-operation. Collective action of this sort occurs in numerous policy fields and models for its operation have been established.
However co-operative international environmental problem solving introduces intriguing questions of scientific uncertainty and precaution, and necessitates the revision of these existing models. The "game theory" approach to co-operative problem solving involves the examination and balancing of the costs and benefits to be incurred by each of the "players" in the "game".
Where the costs and benefits likely to be incurred are well documented the game theory approach can produce practical, equitable results.
However, the costs and benefits involved in the solving of major international environmental dilemmas are not well documented. There are few appropriate reference models because the relative recency of environmental concern means that experience has not yet been able to yield good data on international negotiation strategies.
In some cases the costs likely to be incurred by each player are known, but in nearly all cases the benefits are difficult to measure. Until it is possible to place credible values on environmental degradation it will be impossible to share out the benefits that international co-operation to reduce that degradation might yield.
Analysis of existing schemes of international co-operation to curb environmental degradation, focusing especially on motivation to co-operate, monitoring and enforcing incentives and bargaining procedures a the Geneva Convention the motivation of the different countries to ratify and refuse specific protocols the environmental outcome of the Convention b the River Rhine Treaty on pollution control, especially of salt discharges the sorts of monitoring mechanisms set up by Treaty members enforcement of the agreed measures c the Whale Convention for the International Whaling Commission the sorts of incentives used to encourage countries reliant on whaling to curb their activities the relative "equality" of the incentives used d the Vienna Convention on the ozone layer the dynamics of the bargaining procedures undertaken by the different Convention representatives the extent to which everyone come out "equal" or otherwise 2.
Analysing theoretically-possible contracts among countries on shared resources - "the search for the ideal treaty" the extraction of guidelines from theoretical studies on international mechanisms that will promote co-operation and economic efficiency 4. Trade, policy harmonisation and the environment a trade theory and environmental resources integration of the two b environment policy and protecting the environment co-ordination of the costs of protecting the environment and environment policy Contact: Contemporary policy makers insist that scientific knowledge must underlie any successful attempt to ensure effective institutional response to environmental problems.
But is this demand justified? Task Force 4 is studying the ways in which scientific findings are integrated into environmental policy making by politicians, businesspeople, lawyers and civil servants. Members of the Task Force are considering why some efforts at institutionalising environmental change are successful and others are not. They are exploring the ways in which empirical research on environmental change is utilised by policy makers in the context of power relationships, and social and political values.
Members of Task Force 4 are also considering ways in which science can maintain its essentially social and cultural basis whilst upholding credibility. The institution and its culture the role social and cultural norms play in the Institutional use of scientific knowledge uncertainty in different cultural groups environmental issues and the political agenda 3.
Creating a more user-friendly science a social processes the integration by scientific institutions and discussion of the publicly-perceived "reality" of the situation the social processes inherent in the problems science studies and the assumptions and conventions its investigations embody b science and policy ensuring that issues which are essentially social and cultural are not de-humanised in the policy making process Contact: In order to be effective, they must be highly specialised to the situation in which they are being employed.
But the more specialised they are, the less integrated they can be with other regulatory, legal and economic mechanisms. Thus conceptual co-ordination is lost.
An instrument which is effective in combating a specific occurance in the short term may become ineffective in the long term as the occurrence it was designed to counterbalance evolves. This dilemma is the concern of Task Force 5.
The research is addressing the need for policy instruments which are effective and workable in the short, medium and long term. Task Force 5 is breaking away from the esoteric contrasting of different sorts of policy instrument and concentrating on the advantages and disadvantages of the individual instruments themselves.
Drawing up a workable classification of the different regulatory, economic and persuasion policy instruments 2. The potential of different policy instruments for a policy integration the degree of co-ordination with other policy areas, such as agriculture, transport and energy b proactive policy making the application of the precautionary principle, and its use in international law the use of evaluation research as a learning tool the use of mediation as a learning tool 3.
Discussion of the necessary bureaucratic and political conditions to ensure the objectives and effectiveness of each policy instrument Contact: Effective joint solutions are, however, not easy to establish. Some efforts at international co-operation fail while others succeed, and members of Task Force 6 hope to establish why this is the case.
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Failure to achieve productive consensus is due to two elements: Research will seek to establish why the joint problem-solving capacity of the various players can prove insufficient to find a mutually acceptable solution to the problem. Some organisational structures have a greater problem solving capacity than others, and successful co-operation can be jeopardised by insufficient understanding of the different institutional structures represented in the cross-national panel.
Representatives on such panels must recognise that members of a joint problem solving exercise enter into it with differing hopes, interests and preferences. These must be integrated into the discussion to ensure a successful outcome. Issues such as these can effect either the ability of a group to agree on a possible solution to the environmental problem or the success of that solution once implemented.
What is the relationship between scientific research and environmental resources
Task Force 6 seeks to discover which institutions and procedures provide the most productive setting for developing, adopting and implementing joint solutions to problems of international environmental management. Designing politically feasible solutions a efficiency, fairness and feasibility the kinds of outputs different sorts of political institution are capable of providing with authority b determination of the subjective utility or value ascribed by each participant to each possible outcome the degree to which each government is only concerned with its own pay-off states as unitary, voluntary actors or as subject to bias and comparative evaluation c examination of how governments ascribe value to alternative outcomes their motivation by tangible costs or by uncertain benefits the role of moral principle d linking these conceptual formulas to different categories of regulatory technique separation of the distributive and productive functions of a regime or regulation - ie, separating who should do what and who should pay how much of the bill 2.
Institutional and procedural techniques to maximise problem solving a enhancing the prospects for success the organisation of international policy making to provide actors with incentives to adopt and pursue a constructive problem solving approach the institutional setting to encourage capacity for integrating and aggregating actor interests and preferences the facilities necessary to ensure efficient work b consensual knowledge its role in "diagnosing" problems and exploring and evaluating possible solutions c preventing deadlock how it can be overcome d creating flexibility and tradeoffs identifying common areas of concern adjusting response to what is feasible the progressive development of new levels of compliance as science hardens and financial deals become more feasible Contact: They are putting the theoretical perspectives established by the Task Forces to the test.
The studies will try to ensure that rigorous scientific research is fully applicable to the reality of environmental decision making. Two sea basins suffering from deterioration of differing degrees have been selected for study. We distill a set of common strategies, lessons, and recommendations for improving and expanding interface efforts to enhance the ability to meet the grand challenges in environmental science of our time. Effective science interface efforts Although the integration of science and society is often viewed as a relatively narrow issue of a need for more and better science communication, programs that build stronger interfaces between science and society require attention to the full range of boundary-spanning activities, such as public engagement, decision-relevant synthesis, distillation of results, and science translation and dissemination, through a variety of media to meet the needs of diverse audiences Cash et al.
Building credibility, salience, and legitimacy with stakeholders helps to solidify long-term relationships and increases the influence of scientific research in the decisionmaking process over time Cash et al.
The role of the LTER Network After 30 years of coordinated research and education, the LTER Network is well positioned to facilitate the integration of science and society by using its highly credible, long-term science to support engagement with decisionmakers to frame relevant questions for research and synthesis that can inform environmental policy and conservation. The LTER Network consists of 26 research sites throughout the United States and a few outside the United States, some of which have been operating for three decades or longer.
The long-term ecosystem measurements and experiments that are a hallmark of the LTER Network address important environmental issues in coupled human—natural systems, including climate change, land use, pollution, and the loss of biodiversity Knapp et al. Another distinguishing feature of the LTER Network is its core of researchers at each site, who are attentive to the well-being and future of their respective bioregions. The communication plan specifically recommends engaging decisionmakers in the framing of cross-site synthesis and equipping these efforts with full-scale communication capacity, funding a supplement program for LTER Network sites to develop local and regional programs for public engagement and outreach, and partnering with existing LTER Network sites that have established science journalism programs to develop sustained outreach to the media.
The value of long-term monitoring and research Environmental policy and management issues play out over decades or longer and benefit from the continuous advances in understanding that are derived from long-term research. Policy development is an iterative process that requires ongoing assessment, reevaluation, adaptive management, and consideration of future scenarios Driscoll et al. For example, although the Clean Air Act was first passed by Congress inthe development of amendments and rules to implement the act are ongoing and rely on quantitative information to evaluate the effectiveness of pollution- control measures and to guide program management Lovett et al.
Long-term measurements that link decreases in emissions with changes in soil and water quality and the health of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems are vital to assessing the extent to which air pollution regulations meet the intent of the act Driscoll et al.
Similarly, effective natural-resource management is adaptive and draws on lessons from past decisions and management experience distilled from the results of long-term measurements and experiments, regional surveys, and modeling Spies et al. The practice of forestry in landscapes that support multiple uses must adapt to new knowledge regarding the nature and effects of climate change, forest management, land-use trends, intense storms, fire, and other disturbances.
This understanding must include the impacts of these often interacting pulse and press stressors on management goals and ecosystem services, such as fiber production, biological diversity, carbon storage, trace-gas production and consumption, water quantity and quality, and recreation.
Detailed, long-term measurements tied directly to management-relevant forest experiments have improved the scientific basis for forest management and policy. Important examples include the guiding principles for the conservation of old-growth forests Franklin et al. The five case studies presented here represent examples of outreach activities at selected forested LTER Network sites. We chose this suite of case studies because they have active programs for engaging decisionmakers, represent a range of policy and management issues, and use different approaches to achieve their outreach goals for a common ecosystem type.
Reviewing efforts across forest sites provides the opportunity to consider how audiences, management and policy issues, and communication approaches vary across diverse regional research sites and programs. Specifically, the case studies incorporate the impacts of atmospheric deposition on forested ecosystems Hubbard Brookland-use change and forest conservation in a predominantly private-lands landscape Harvard Forestendangered species and public lands management Andrewsurban forestry in developed landscapes Baltimoreand forest stewardship in the context of changing fire and climate regimes Bonanza Creek.
These case studies represent only some of the many science—policy integration efforts that exist across the LTER Network for other examples, see the Translating Science for Society brochure at http: In each of these cases, the ability to tap into core strengths of the LTER Network, such as long-term research that is relevant to policy and management issues, advanced information-management systems, and stores of long-term data, has proven essential to the synthesis and distillation of science for use in policy and management decisions related to coupled human—natural systems.