Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Environmental economics should be streagthened



Through my practices as an agricultural extension officer I had found that though farmers and householders may be aware of dangers of using non-sustainable,fossil energy based farming practices, they keep doing it as they lack valid economic reasons to substantiate that ecological farming is the key to both our health and that of our planet.
Quite a lot of good agric extension officers,environmentalist and permaculturist I meet fail to convience me with economic reasons why ecological farming must be persued though they could show attractive field results of thier work. I had researched and found out that the following are some of the main reasons why we should use our environmental resources protectively and wisely from the economic point of view.

1) Firstly there is a consensus that many environmental goods which were once regarded as free goods,have now become scarce resources, therefore unless immediate action is taken to prevent depletion/depreciation of these resources sustainable growth may not be feasible

2) Scientific and engeering aproaches to environmental problems can help in understanding the two way linkages between ecological and economic system in identifying the caouses of environmental degradation and in obtaining physical measurements of environmental damages, while for many decision-making problems an economic approach is needed to obtain money values of the damages

3) There has been a gradual shift in many developed countries from command and control type of policy approach to environmental protection to a policy regime which relies largely on economic/market-based instruments to achieve environmental policy goals. The reason for this shift is the reaslization that economic based instruments are incentive based and that they provide an opportunity to economic agaents to use their private information which is seldom available to the regulator,in their search for least cost option for compliance with the regulations.

4)Gorvenments require cost- benefit analysis of environmental legislations,resetting environmental standards and introductions of new policy instruments for enviromental protection.The ipmact of the proposed policy changes on cost,outputs, prices and exports prospects at the industry level and their ovaral impact at the economy level must be assessed.

5) In reaching binding international agreements on global environmental issues, economic analysisi is neeeded to assess the likely impact of different policy options on the distributions of cost and benefit among the nations and in devising mechanisms for sharing the cost and benefit in equitable manner.

There is a diffrence between an ecologists' perspective and economists' perspective in their approach to environmental problems. While the ecologists' perspective is holistic in the sense that they approach environmental problems from the viewpoint of all living organismsm,economists, particularly those trained in utilitarian framework,adopt an anthropocentric approach to the problem. We need to streaghthen environmental economics and encourage youths to take this route in studying as thats were our future lies!!

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