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Question: Developing countries should prioritise protecting the environment over their economic growth. To what extent do you agree? 

Timed Essay Two

Economic Growth and the Environment

Table of Contents Timed Essay Two 1 Economic Growth and the Environment 1 Seminar Questions: Economic Growth and the Environment 3 Text 1: Omoju (2014) 4 Text 1: Comprehension Questions 6 Text 2: Zou (2015) 7 Text 2: Comprehension Questions 11 Text 3: The Economist (2008) 12 Text 3: Comprehension Questions 16 Text 4: Jacobson (2016) 17 Text 4: Comprehension Questions 20

Preparing to listen to a lecture on your assignment topic

(This guidance is based on your lesson “Listening to lectures”)

Predicting: think & make notes

· What is the topic?· Is there anything you already know about this topic?· What key words / terms do you think you’ll hear?

Predicting: read & make notes

· Do a preparatory search online to get some background information on the topic. You can use Wikipedia, online blogs and any helpful websites at this stage.· Scan the readings you have been provided with and make some notes on the sub-topics they mention.· Try to identify why the authors wrote their texts (e.g. to report research related to this topic, to argue for or against something, to discuss a particular problem etc.)

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Has the lecturer uploaded their PowerPoint slides to DUO? If yes:· Read through the PowerPoint slides· Look up and define key terms / terms you don’t know· Make a note of questions that occur to you as you read the slides· Try to summarise in your own words or map-out the key points / sub-topics of the lecture
Remember to decide on how and where you will make notes when listening to the lecture e.g.· On a downloaded copy of slides which you can annotate.· On paper / in a notebook.· In a labelled document on your laptop / iPad etc.

Seminar Questions: Economic Growth and the Environment

1. What evidence is there that developing countries are causing environmental harm?

2. Who is most at risk from this environmental harm?

3. As countries develop and become richer, do they normally become less ‘green’ or more ‘green’? Why?

4. What is the Environmental Kuznet Curve? How would you explain it, in your own words?

5. What does it mean to ‘leapfrog over fossil fuels’?

6. Can developing countries reduce their own environmental damage? If so, how?

7. Can developed countries reduce developing countries’ environmental damage? If so, how?

8. What is the relationship between economic growth, good government, and environmental health?

Text 1: Omoju (2014)

Omoju, O. (2014) Environmental pollution is inevitable in developing countries. Available at: https://breakingenergy.com/2014/09/23/environmental-pollution-is-inevitable-in-developing-countries/ (Accessed: 13 May 2020).Oluwasola Omoju is based at the China Center for Energy Economics Research (CCEER), School of Economics, Xiamen University, ChinaPollution is one of the many environmental challenges facing the world today. The impact of pollution is more severe in developing countries, leading to ill health, death and disabilities of millions of people annually. Developed countries have the resources and technologies to combat pollution. As a result of the health risks and the potential impact of climate change, there have been efforts to reduce pollution. However, while this may be easy for developed countries, halting environmental pollution may undermine economic growth and competitiveness of developing countries whose economies depends on natural resources. Developed countries have achieved substantial economic growth and development and can afford to focus on environmental goals because basic living necessities have been achieved.At every point and in every level of development, countries need to make choices between often conflicting goals. Developing countries desire to ensure energy for all at a competitive price to achieve and sustain economic growth and poverty reduction. The energy poverty experienced in these regions has been linked with the high level of income and non-income poverty in the regions. In their desire to develop and improve the standards of living of their citizens, these countries will opt for the goals of economic growth and cheap energy for all. This may lead to environmental pollution and degradation. More so, energy access, and at a lower price, is necessary to make the industries in developing countries competitive and contribute to economic growth, job creation and development. Ensuring energy access to the population and enhancing the competitiveness of local industries may require providing energy at lower prices through energy subsidies. This will encourage energy over-consumption, waste and inefficiency and also fuel environmental pollution.Most developing countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, depend majorly on natural resources for revenue and foreign exchange. These economics are driven by funds generated from exploitation of natural resources such as coal, oil and gas, agricultural and forest resources, gold, copper, etc. The livelihood of the masses also depends on these resources. However, the exploitation and processing of some of these resources result in environmental pollution and degradation. For instance, the exploration of oil and the activities of multinational oil companies in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria has caused substantial land, water and air pollution. However, for Nigeria to maintain its current economic growth path and sustain its drive for poverty reduction, oil exploration and production will continue to be a dominant economic activity. This is also the case with a number of other developing countries.The inevitability of pollution in developing countries has been demonstrated by the Environmental Kuznet Curve. The EKC is a hypothesized relationship between indicators of environmental degradation and income per capita. According to the theory, environmental pollution and degradation increase in the early stages of economic growth, get to a peak point, and reverse in such a way that the environment improves at high income levels. This is based on the fact that developing countries desire industrialization and economic growth and tend to consume more cheap energy. There is also need for developing countries to build roads and rail tracks and develop massive infrastructure to promote economic growth. Such activities that are required at the take-off stage of economic development are substantially energy-intensive.The important role of industrialization in the development process of developing countries cannot be overemphasized. There is need for structural transformation from small-scale agriculture to industrialization in order for developing countries to experience inclusive and pro-poor growth. However, industrialization requires massive use of energy resources which could lead to pollution and environmental degradation. China would not have achieved the impressive economic growth and development it has recorded in recent years if she had cared about pollution at the initial stage of development. Other developed economies like the OECD are also focusing on environmental sustainability after achieving considerable growth and improvement in the living standard of their citizens. The Chinese economic model is energy intensive, with strong focus on investment and industrialization, and is being adopted by a number of developing countries.In conclusion, developing countries in their quest for economic development and poverty reduction are expected to put economic growth, energy for all and industrialization at the forefront of their goals before giving consideration to environmental issues. Therefore, compelling developing countries like those in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to pursue environmental goals, particularly reduction in CO2 emissions, will require substantial economic, technological and financial support from developed countries and the international community to compensate for the economic losses associated with reducing pollution.

End of text.

Text 1: Comprehension Questions

1. What are the global consequences of continued pollution?

2. Why is the goal of increasing the availability of cheap energy so important to developing countries?

3. What are the negative consequences of pursuing this goal through energy subsidies?

4. According to the author, many developing countries’ economies depend on their natural resources, how is this exemplified by the case of Nigeria?

5. In the author’s view, what needs to happen before a country can start prioritising environmental goals?

6. What is the name of the theory that says all countries have to cause environmental damage during their early stages of economic growth?

7. According to the author, what three kinds of support will developed countries have to provide if they want developing regions such as South Asia to avoid pollution?

Text 2: Zou (2015)

Zou, J. (2015) Trend 6: Rising pollution in the developing world. World Economic Forum. Available at: https://reports.weforum.org/outlook-global-agenda-2015/top-10-trends-of-2015/6-rising-pollution-in-the-developing-world/ (Accessed: 13 May 2020).Zou Ji is Deputy Director-General, National Centre for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, China, and a Member of the Global Agenda Council on Climate ChangeThe industrialization of the developing world is creating unsustainable pollution levels. The solution requires a technological and an intellectual revolution; an alternative route to economic prosperity that preserves resources and limits carbon emissions has to be developed before it is too late. The developing world has learned a lot about commercial models, infrastructure and technology from Europe and North America. Those patterns worked well economically, but the world’s carbon capacity cannot allow us to continue on this path. Rising pollution in the developing worldis ranked as the sixth most significant global trend this year – and in Asia it’s the third. China became the largest greenhouse gas emitter in 2005 and in this position, followed by the United States and the European Union, according to the World Resources Institute. Brazil and India are the fifth and the eighth biggest polluters. Developing countries will suffer the most from the weather-related disasters and increased water stress caused by global warming, consequences outlined in our other trend chapters. Even 2°C warming above preindustrial – the minimum the world will experience – would result in 4-5% of African and South Asian GDP being lost and developing countries are expected to bear 75-80% of impact costs.China’s burgeoning manufacturing sector produced one of the biggest historical increases in power generation capacity – but this has come at a huge cost. According to analysis by the Global Burden of Disease Study, air pollution in China contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths in 2010, representing a loss of 25 million years of healthy life. We need to find a means to continue the country’s expansion while reducing fossil fuel use. This means investing in a power generation network that can replace coal, including renewables, nuclear and gas, and phasing out low-efficiency generators. Progress needs to be measured by something other than GDP, which does not include environmental conditions or quality of life.As important as China’s role will be, the developing world must stick to targets set for renewable power generation, ensure high-polluting industries are properly regulated, and promote clean energy. As the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, China’s policies are critical in addressing global warming, and are also influential for otherdeveloping nations. The latter have the most work to do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will bear the impacts of global warming, yet the responsibility for the crisis can’t rest with them alone; World Bank research estimates high income countries are responsible for two-thirds of the CO2 released into the atmosphere since 1850.There are two main ways developed countries need to help with this process. There needs to be a flow of funding to the developing world, providing the means to finance change, and we must cooperate to develop new low carbon technologies. It’s crucial that countries such as China build up their research and development capacity for solar power, wind turbines and carbon capture, and international cooperation can help developed countries become involved higher up the supply chain.The 2010 Cancun accord, which set long-term funding arrangements, is the second part of the puzzle. The Green Climate Fund, formalized at the conference, provides a mechanism for helping developing nations adapt and reduce their carbon emissions. Even so, we still need to ensure that the money flows to these projects, and developed countries need to make clear how to achieve this financial assistance target. It is important to understand that once high-carbon solutions have been implemented, they are difficult to replace. This means the decisions being made today on power generation, and the way our cities and transport networks are designed, are absolutely crucial. There is a potential to have a big impact now, but the window of opportunity will close very soon.

Rising pollution in the developing world:

Inside the data

Which region will be most affected by

rising pollution

in the developing world

in the next 12-18 months?

How great a problem does

rising pollution in the

developing world

pose for regions around the world?

Source: Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Project, 2014

Source: Survey on the Global Agenda 2014

Very big

problem

Key

Moderately

big problem

Small

problem

Not a problem

at all

%

42

14

%

33

%

3

%

Asia

Sub-Saharan Africa

51

%

18

%

28

%

4

%

%

55

12

%

31

%

2

%

Middle East & North Africa

Latin America

%

72

%

6

%

20

%

1

Europe

36

%

16

%

%

44

3

%

Asia

%

37

Sub-Saharan

Africa

19

%

Latin

America

%

20

Middle East &

North Africa

%

14

North

America

%

6

Europe

4

%

End of Text

Text 2: Comprehension Questions

1. Why is it in developing countries’ own interests to find a non-polluting path to economic growth?

2. Why does the author suggest that GDP is no longer a helpful measurement of ‘progress’?

3. Statistics show the developing world is contributing heavily to global pollution, so why should high-income developed countries also be considered responsible for the environmental crisis?

4. How is the 2010 Cancun accord providing part of the solution to helping countries avoid environmentally damaging forms of economic growth?

5. Why, according to the author, is it vital for developing countries to switch from high-carbon approaches to growth as soon as possible?

Text 3: The Economist (2008)

How green is their growth? (2008) Available at: https://www.economist.com/international/2008/01/24/how-green-is-their-growth (Accessed: 13 May 2020).A new argument that economic progress can help to ease environmental woes, just so long as the governance is good too.Can poor countries afford to be green? That is a question which politicians in the developing world have often asked rather pointedly. To them, it seems that the obsession of some rich types with preserving forests and saving cuddly animals like pandas or lemurs, while paying less attention to the human beings living nearby, is both cynical and hypocritical.There is, of course, plenty of evidence that greenery and growth are not polar opposites. After decades of expansion in China and other fast-emerging economies, some of the negative side-effects and their impact on human welfare, above all the death toll caused by foul air and water, are horribly clear. Yet the relationship between growth and the state of the environment is far from simple.Some new light has been cast by a team of researchers led by Daniel Esty of Yale University, who delivered their conclusions this week to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. What they presented was the latest annual Environmental Sustainability Index, which grades the “environmental health” of 150countries — using many indicators, from population stress and eco-system health to social and institutional capacity. This year’s report focuses on the link between the state of the environment and human health.In a nutshell, what the new report (also sponsored by the European Commission and Columbia University) suggests is that poor countries have been quite right to challenge the sort of green orthodoxy which rejects the very idea of economic growth. Indeed, the single biggest variable in determining a country’s ranking is income per head. But that doesn’t imply that economic growth automatically leads to an improvement in the environment.The team’s finding is that growth does offer solutions to the sorts of environmental woes (local air pollution, for example) that directly kill humans. This matters, because about a quarter of all deaths in the world have some link to environmental factors. Most of the victims are poor people who are already vulnerable because of bad living conditions, lack of access to medicine, and malnutrition. Among the killers (especially of children) in which the environment plays a role are diarrhoea, respiratory infections and malaria. These diseases reinforce a vicious circle of poverty and hopelessness by depressing production. According to the World Bank, the economic burden on society caused by bad environmental health amounts to between 2% and 5% of GDP.Mr Esty’s analysis suggests that as poor countries get richer, they usually invest heavily in environmental improvements, such as cleaning up water supplies and improving sanitation, that boost human health. (Their economies may also shift gear, from making steel or chemicals to turning out computer chips.)But the link between growth and environmentally benign outcomes is much less clear, the study suggests, when it comes to the sort of pollution that fouls up nature (such as acid rain, which poisons lakes and forests) as opposed to directly killing human beings. The key to addressing that sort of pollution, Mr Esty argues, is not just money but good governance.A closer look at the rankings makes this relationship clearer. Of course it is no surprise that Switzerland fares better than Niger. But why is the poor Dominican Republic much healthier and greener than nearby Haiti? Or Costa Rica so far ahead of Nicaragua, whose nature and resources are broadly similar? And why is wealthy Belgium the sick man of Western Europe, with an environmental record worse than that of many developing countries?A mixture of factors related to good government—accurate data, transparent administration, lack of corruption, checks and balances—all show a clear statistical relationship with environmental performance. Among countries of comparable income, Mr Esty concludes, tough regulations and above all, enforcement are the key factors in keeping things green.All this may be a helpful way of looking at pollution in the classic sense, but there is another factor that may upset all previous calculations about the relationship between growth and the state of the earth: climate change. Greenhouse emissions do not poison people, or lakes or woods, in the direct or obvious way that noxious chemicals do. But at least in the medium term, they clearly alter the earth in ways that harm the welfare of the poor.Paul Epstein of the Harvard Medical School says the impact both on nature and directly on humanity of global warming will swamp all other environmental factors. As alterations in the climate lead to mass migrations, epidemics will spread; as temperate zones warm up, tropical diseases like malaria will surge; storms will overwhelm sewer systems; heat waves will push ozone levels up.He may be right, but here too economic growth, coupled with good governance, may yet prove to be a source of solutions rather than problems. At the moment, perhaps 2 billion people have no formal access to modern energy—they make do with cow dung, agricultural residue and other solid fuels which are far from healthy. Unless foresight and intelligence are applied to the satisfaction of these people’s needs, they may embrace the filthiest and most carbon-emitting forms of fossil-fuel energy as soon as they get the chance.A mixture of economic growth and transparent governance may offer the only chance of avoiding that disaster. Indeed, everyone will gain if poor countries find a way to leapfrog over the phases of development, which in so many other places did terrible harm to the environment.

End of text.

Text 3: Comprehension Questions

1. Researchers from which University have demonstrated that countries with the highest income per head are the most environmentally sustainable?

2. A quarter of all deaths in the world are thought to be linked to what?

3. According to the report by Esty which kinds of environmental improvements do countries naturally pursue, and which kinds of pollution do they tend to tolerate?

4. What factor explains why countries with a similar level of economic growth have different levels of environmentally damaging impact?

5. What are three aspects of ‘good governance’?

6. Which countries are suffering economically because of their poor environmental health?

7. What larger challenges does Paul Epstein believe we are all facing?

Text 4: Jacobson (2016)

Jacobson, M. (2016) The developing world can leapfrog dirty coal and go straight to clean energy. Available at: https://www.fastcompany.com/3056313/the-developing-world-can-leapfrog-dirty-coal-and-go-straight-to-clean-energy (Accessed: 13 May 2020).Mark Jacobson is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and director of its Atmosphere and Energy Program. Jacobson develops computer models about the effects of different energy technologies and their emissions on air pollution and climate. He is a Senior Fellow at both the Woods Institute for the Environment and the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford. He’s also the co-founder of the nonprofit Solutions Project .When solar farms in sub-Saharan Africa start to become more common than coal-fired power plants, it is time for the rest of the world to take notice. The clean energy revolution is happening right now under our feet.The rapidly unfolding energy transition is bypassing coal and going straight to low-cost renewables.Two centuries of burning fossil fuels brought development to much of the world, but also brought large-scale climate change and a host of severe impacts: millions of deaths from air pollution and excessive heat, lack of access to modern energy services for billions of the world’s poor and geopolitical conflicts over resources. While climate change is one of the most urgent crises of our time, extensive research indicates that the possibility of quickly switching to 100% clean, renewable energy that will mitigate these impacts is at our fingertips.The recently signed Paris Agreement is a watershed moment for the clean energy transition. It provides the strongest market signal yet for companies and countries to double down on their renewable energy investments and to continue moving away from fossil fuels.That change is already happening in many parts of the developing world. The rapidly unfolding energy transition is bypassing coal and going straight to low-cost renewables. As countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America seize this chance to “leapfrog” over fossil fuels and expand their clean energy capacity, they not only benefit from economic growth and cheap electricity, they also increase their security and avoid the severe damage to health and the environment that burning fossil fuels causes.In fact, the Paris Climate Conference prompted the creation of the African Renewable Energy Initiative, a continent-wide program to massively increase Africa’s clean energy over the next 15 years while bypassing the pitfalls of fossil fuels.As the new African Renewable Energy Initiative indicates, countries have the ability not only to leapfrog fossil fuels, but also to replace them while keeping the lights on. Our research, conducted at Stanford University and the University of California, shows that by 2050 nearly every country in the world can transition its all-purpose energy to 100% clean, renewable wind, water and sunlight.Africa has significant clean energy resources available that make it technically and economically feasible for 80% of the continent’s energy to be switched to renewables from fossil fuels no later than 2030.As Africa’s current population grows from 1.1 billion to 1.6 billion by 2030, wind and solar could overtake fossil fuels as the dominant forms of energy. For example, our analysis shows that South Africa could get 56% of its electricity from utility-scale solar, Kenya 28%, and Mozambique 34%, all for lower cost than electrifying with coal. While conservative scenarios predict about half of the continent will have access to the electricity grid by 2030, this means 640 million Africans will plug into the grid for the first time thanks to renewables.This is not just pie in the sky. Our work is based on detailed engineering and an itemized mix of technologies and costs for 139 nations, including how much land and rooftop area would be needed to add renewable technologies. Some may wonder where all of this energy will come from. The vast majority of electricity will be generated by wind and solar power: nearly a third from wind, over half from solar power (the majority utility-scale photovoltaics) and the rest via hydroelectric dams, geothermal and tidal power.The clean energy transition will occur by electrifying everything: cars, heating, agricultural and industrial equipment can all run on electricity. Rapidly advancing battery technology ensures this power will be there when needed. Electrifying reduces power demand by about a third thanks to the efficiency of electricity over burning fossil fuels.There is no doubt that undertaking this type of massive transformation in developing countries will be challenging. It will require sufficient financial and political support, which can be hard to come by in countries that experience political instability and low public financing. Public money will be necessary to get the ball rolling through initiatives like the public funds transfers from developed countries to developing ones, set up by the Paris Agreement. These funds will open the door for trillions of dollars of private sector investment.The benefits of achieving this transition are global. They include eliminating 4 to 7 million premature air pollution deaths per year–similar to the annual deaths caused by smoking. It would provide steady power to four billion people that do not currently have it and create over 20 million long-term clean energy jobs. Turbocharging the clean energy transition is also critical to tackling climate change.Countries that choose to skip past fossil fuels in favor of renewables avoid increased healthcare costs and see stronger job growth and greater political stability. The clean energy transition will avoid air pollution costs that that are over 3% of annual world GDP and prevent $16 to $20 trillion per year in global climate costs by 2050.The main barriers to a more rapid conversion are neither technical nor economic. They are social and political. As Western leaders like President Francoise Hollande of France acknowledge, there is a huge opportunity for developing countries to move immediately to new, clean energy technologies. The moment is ripe for international policymakers to leverage the Paris Agreement’s strong market signal and accelerate the current progress. The roadmaps to clean energy that we have developed give confidence to world leaders that the path to 100% renewable energy is clear and achievable. Much of the world is already heading down that path to a clean energy future. The more we support that transition, the better off we all are.

End of text.

Text 4: Comprehension Questions

1. According to Jacobson, are developing countries going through an inevitable period of increased pollution through heavy fossil fuel use as they pursue economic growth?

2. What are the benefits of making a rapid transition to investing in increased availability of clean energy?

3. What does the research by Stanford University and the University of California suggest about Africa’s ability to avoid heavy pollution while increasing access to energy?

4. What are the benefits of providing financial and political support to countries so that they can transition to renewable energy?

5. How much financial saving could be made by a global effort to transition to clean energy?

6. Does the author believe that we lack the technology and/or money to achieve this transition?