Today, the citizens of all countries face the same concern about the possible threat of global warming and people’s contributions to climate change. During the last two decades, the question of economic development and growth and its direct connection to energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions has become a dominating issue from the political and economic perspectives (Farhani and Rejeb 71).
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In 2016, the representatives of 195 nations gathered to discuss the solutions for global warming and offered to sign the Paris Accord, an agreement in terms of which planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions should be lowered to stave off the dramatic effects of climate change (Davenport). However, in 2017, President Trump declares his intention to withdraw from the agreement believing that there is a link between economic growth, the production of public goods, and the reduction of CO2 emission rates, and there are no economic benefits for the United States in this accord. This decision can be understood because the relation between economic growth that includes the production of public goods and CO2 emissions caused by energy consumption is fundamental and cannot be avoided.
In this paper, real cases and situations will be investigated and analyzed to clarify if it is possible to develop an optimistic or pessimistic attitude and deal with global warming by reducing CO2 emissions and energy consumption without any threats to economic development, public goods’ growth, and financial benefits.
Economic Growth and Carbon Dioxide Emissions
The discussions of the connection between economic growth and CO2 emissions cannot be stopped because the experts from different countries are still not able to find a solution and develop appropriate policies to support the development and reduce emissions (Fernandez-Amador et al. 269). Economic growth and environmental pollution are the two concepts the linkage between which may gain different forms. Many nations support the idea of decoupling economic development from CO2 emissions (Saha and Muro). The governments believe that is it possible to reduce emissions through electricity generation.
Energy is the main input that is used to develop a process, improve the production level, and support appropriate living conditions. In other words, it is impossible to imagine this life without electricity consumption. Scientists explain that energy consumption is the reason for CO2 emission that is the reason for the greenhouse gas effect that destroys the atmosphere. The destruction of the atmosphere leads to global warming and climate change. It means that the more people use electricity to meet their personal and professional goals, the more destruction occurs.
Many environmentalists and economists unite their knowledge and power to resist the development of a global threat. They develop policies, offer new ideas, and ask the government to support their positions through effective regulations that have to be followed by every citizen (Fernandez-Amador et al. 271). People may regard the link between economics and ecology in different ways. Some people believe that their financial decisions or economic improvements have nothing in common with the environmental problems without even thinking about the contributions they produce on the environment when they turn on the light in their offices.
Production of Public Goods
People cannot live without commodities. The role of public goods in economic growth and development has to be discussed. The production of public goods is an integral part of an economic development process. In the field of economics, a public good is defined as any kind of good that can be characterized as non-rival and non-excludable in its consumption (Devarajan and Kanbur 71). Non-rival public goods are the consumption of the goods of which by one person does not reduce consumption of the same good by another person. Non-excludability is the characteristic that proves the impossibility to exclude someone from consuming goods.
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The examples of public goods available for people are impressive indeed: fresh air, national security, light, knowledge, and even national identity (Devarajan and Kanbur 71). The production of such goods depends on people and their readiness to sacrifice one thing to support something other. For example, light is the public good that requires energy consumption. Its production has certain negative outcomes for the environment and deprives people of the opportunity to use fresh air that is another public good. Knowledge and national identity are the public goods the production of which depends on an appropriate work in various industries where energy consumption is inevitable.
Regarding such development of the events and the impossibility to produce public goods and stay “environmentally friendly”, the production and the role of public goods in human life is the issue for discussion. The problem of free-rider occurs. People find it normal to use public goods like fresh air or water without paying for it. They do not think about the outcomes and the possibility of supply diminishing regarding the number of people. Nobody can restrict public goods’ consumption, and that is the main environmental problem.
The decision made by President Trump to withdraw from the Paris Accord can be explained using these debates. Such a country as the United States cannot stay economically competitive and successful without energy consumption. Therefore, CO2 emission rates cannot be reduced to protect the environment and avoid climate change. It is easy for the country to leave the project instead of searching for new alternatives that may cost a lot for the country, for the President, and each American citizen.
Global Warming Solutions
The Paris Accord is regarded as a significant contribution to the protection of the environment that can be made by any nation. The United States may not be the participant of this movement. Still, many other ways can be offered to the country and the President. Many ideas can be offered to people to make attempts and reduce the number of problems connected with global warming, CO2 emissions, and climate change. Some of them are absurd, some of them cannot be accomplished, and some of them just do not make any sense. Still, several simple steps can be promoted by the government of each country. First, education and knowledge, as a public good, has to be improved considerably. People should learn environmental problems and challenges to analyze their chances and contributions to their safe future.
Though people cannot stop using cars at the same time, the government can reduce transportation effects on the environment. The second idea to remove global warming is to provide people with the opportunity to work close to their homes and avoid driving cars. Transportation is a leading cause of CO2 emissions. People are free to replace their cars and pay more attention to public transport, walking, or cycling. It is not difficult, and it is worth trying in case the government supports the idea. Finally, CO2 emissions can be reduced in case forests are not cut. Though it is impossible to stop cutting forests because this process promotes economic growth and development, it is always possible to plant new trees regularly.
Optimism vs. Pessimism
Global warming is one of the most dangerous problems for humanity. Because people cannot see and comprehend its actual effects and powers, they cannot realize the level of negative outcomes. They cannot recognize their responsibility and the necessity to change something. However, it is necessary to stay optimistic even it is impossible and believe that everything can be improved. Global warming solutions offered in this paper are not complicated. Each person can make a certain contribution and protect the environment. The only requirement that has to be followed is the improvement of education. Knowledge is power with no limits. It is the public good that promotes optimism and confidence in any decision and any activity.
In general, the decision made by President Trump to withdraw from the Paris Accord to promote the economic growth of the country can be explained by his ability to comprehend one simple truth: today, economic development is impossible without certain environmental sacrifices. CO2 emissions and greenhouse gas emissions are caused by energy consumption. Their reduction means the reduction of electricity and the inability to meet certain economic and management goals and properly use public goods. The free-rider problem cannot be solved today because of people’s unpreparedness to sacrifice and put common needs higher than personal needs.
Davenport, Coral. “Nations Approve Landmark Climate Accord in Paris.” The New York Times. 2015. Web.
Devarajan, Shantayanan, and Ravi Kanbur. “Development Strategy: Balancing Market and Government Failure.” International Development: Ideas, Experiences, and Prospects, edited by Bruce Currie-Alder, et al., Oxford University Press, 2014. pp. 65-80. Web.
Farhani, Sahbi, and Jaleleddine Ben Rejeb. “Energy Consumption, Economic Growth and CO2 Emissions: Evidence from Panel Data for MENA Region.” International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, vol. 2, no. 2, 2012, pp. 71-81. Web.
Fernandez-Amador, Octavio, et al. “Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Economic Growth: An Assessment Based on Production and Consumption Emission Inventories.” Ecological Economics, vol. 135, 2017, pp. 269-279. Web.
Saha, Devashree, and Mark Muro. “Growth, Carbon, and Trump: States Are ‘Decoupling’ Economic Growth from Emissions Growth.” Brookings. 2016. Web.