Environmebt Issues of USA: Deforestation and Air Pollution
The United States of America is considered one of the most developed and industrialized countries in the world. The country is located in North America, with Washington D.C as its a capital. Despite being one of the most highly developed and industrialized countries, the USA faces serious environmental issues. For example, Air pollution and climate change are two of the most alarming environmental issues the country is facing . So different parts of the country face different risks based on climate change. for instance, south eastern states are prone to spates, and it is expected to increase significantly within 25 years. In the Southern Great Plains, precocious death rates may rise noticeable resulting from extreme heat. . Furthermore, cropland is projected to decrease due to climate change . On the other hand, Air Pollution has a significant link with death rates, which includes the level of fine inhalable particles, such as sulfates. Therefore, air pollution has a direct correlation with deaths from heart and aggravate lung diseases . Moreover, the environment plays an essential role in the sustainability of life on planet Earth. That is why addressing these environmental issues and making efforts to mitigate the impact of these issues is the responsibility of the government and every individual. The essay consists of two of the major environmental issues faced by the USA, along with their causes and recommendations to mitigate their impact.
Although the USA is one of the leading industrial and capitalist countries of the world, the USA has failed to provide a quality environment for its citizens. There are many issues related to climate change and Air pollution. For instance, Human activity, which has posed a major threat to the environment of the USA, may generate changes that will endanger various sides of life . Moreover, human activity is responsible for climate change that occurs because of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). These gases absorb the reflected sunrays from the earth and radiate it again, which leads to an increase in the temperature of the earth . Because of increasing earth temperature, agriculture is going to be subjected to changes and it is expected that crop productivity will alter due to these changes in climate . Moreover, it causes major economic disasters, for example, Texas lost $125 billion because of Hurricane Harvey, and $71 billion of damages due to Hurricane Sandy in 2012. And while there is no link between climate change and natural disasters, it is known that increasing sea level due to warmer earth temperature has a significant effect on their severity and devastation . In addition, there is growing concerned about the consequences of climate change on the production of fisheries and the state of marine ecosystems, as fish and invertebrates are going to try migrating to cold waters to regulate their thermal behavior . First, low-income people who depend entirely on agriculture and fishing will suffer from decreasing their productivity due to the producers’ income is most at risk, which lead to increase social cost, such as lost job and migrating to look for appropriate agricultural lands. Second, as the (Fig. 1) shown, the agricultural crops and marine product supply will be decreased so that causing lower quantity and higher price, Which makes the consumer look for other alternatives. Solving this problem is essential which means that increased supply is necessary to meet the demand and achieve demand-supply equilibrium in the market.
Similarly, Air pollution is another issue, which is faced by US citizens in their country . Main source of air pollution of the USA comes from passenger vehicles, the emissions of this source includes carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other toxic gases . Air pollution has an impact on people’s health and welfare even it is not visional . CO2 emissions from a gallon of gasoline and diesel is 8,887 and 10,180 grams CO2/ gallon, respectively . Moreover, 1out of 25 deaths happens because of air pollution because of 166 million Americans are living with insalubrious air . In 2014, air pollution had a considerable impact on the economy of the USA, which was $790 billion (5% of annual damages), where premature deaths recorded the highest cost because of delicate particulate (PM2.5) . Externalities happen, when the production or consumption influence on the third party who is not directly related to that part activity. An externality can be both positive and negative, air pollution from the car is considered a negative social impact due to its affects the third party noticeably. The social cost here is the sum of private cost caused by car and external costs that impact on the third party . Estimated annual cost of health and deaths-rate because of O3 and PM2.5 ranged $5.5–140.7 billion U.S. dollar and $8.9-112.5 million, respectively . Because of that, the citizens will increase expenditure on health more than other aspects, such as welfare, because of negative externality. That made the government to intervene to make policies to reduce pollution and protect health .Figure 1supply and demand curve
Climate change and air pollution can only be controlled by taking two most important measures for example, first, trading carbon. Trading carbon will create a market for greenhouse gases (GHGs). U.S. carbon trading has a target to reduce CO2 emissions by 30 % within 10 years. . Moreover, Climate change has a significant impact to oblige huge costs and hazards on the next generations who will suffer the impact of climate change, without any influence in the market price, because of that, climate change can be considered a market failure, . So define carbon cost is the appropriate way to encourage polluters to reduce greenhouse emission. There are two approaches to define the carbon price. Firstly, impose a carbon tax on the distribution, use of fuel depending on their carbon content, which will increase the cost of fuel and products. Thus encouraging consumer and companies to switch to consume and produce less carbon-intensive. Secondly, determine the total permissible carbon emissions and issue permits . That means, if a company exceeds the permitted emissions, then it must take the permits. In other words, the company should pay for their practices, if a company breaks the allowed emissions amount. As a result, factories are going to be more careful in their practice to avoid punishment; hence emissions and externalities will be reduced significantly . Carbon trading might cause a rise in cost of gasoline, natural gas, and electricity will increase . Therefore, the government can take advantage of the revenue to decrease social cost such as develop the carbon capture technology and supporting low-income citizens, provide education. Many challenges related to trading carbon include pellucidness, the ability of carbon pricing and general acceptance of emissions trading systems .
As far as preventing the rise of car pollution is concerned, the government of the USA should take strict measures and impose fuel tax, where emission caused by gasoline and diesel fuel combustion represents 25 % of the total emissions . Car emissions have a considerable impact on the social cost that it is not included in the price of the product. Impose tax is can change the consumer prices; thus achieve the marginal social costs. Fuel tax is equal to the externalities produced by combustion fuel . As a result, the manufactures will be encouraged to enhance the performance of consuming fuel to reduce emissions, for instance, the USA seeks to produce cars can run 54.4 miles per gallon of fuel, instead of 27.5 miles per gallon, within next 5 years . On the other hand, encouraging people to choose the best fuel-efficient cars. Moreover, the taxes would result in revenues of, so it could be used to developing public transportation, reduce income and health taxes, incentives to companies to invest in reducing car consumption fuel, and provide earnings to American consumers.
The report has provided an overview of two of the most alarming environmental issues of the world’s largest economy that is the USA. The report has discussed the issue of climate change and rising air pollution in the USA. In this report, a brief overview of the causes of both of these environmental issues are highlighted along with the provision of brief recommendations, through the carbon international trading scheme and imposing taxes on emission gases to solve both of the above mentioned issues.
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