Assignment: Ecological Economics Exercises

Word length: 300 words per question. Include citations in text and a list of the references
used.

Question One:

It is clear that human activity is affecting the global carbon cycle and contributing to climate
change. Many of the basic understandings of economy-environmental relationships, such as
stock-flow relationships of capital accumulation, waste creation and increased use of
extrasomatic energy are frequently misunderstood by the members of the general public.
With this background established,
 What do you know about the debate between Climate Change skeptics and advocates
in the light of recent debates (see here for instance).
 Suggest reasons for why members of the general public find it hard to understand the
significance of climate change. You can read different materials including the article
by Sterman (2011): ‘Communicating climate change’ to summarise your arguments.
 In your overview, describe how and why ‘atmospheric carbon stock’ can help
scientists and the general public understand the message that climate change is
serious, more effectively.

Question Two:

Read the review article about Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu and then critically evaluate Bruce
Pascoe’s argument that Aboriginal Australians had achieved sustainable agricultural practices
prior to colonisation. In your answer, you can also refer to a related debate over the
disappearance of the mega-fauna in Australia.

Question Three:

Many economists argue that economic accounting or real Gross Domestic Product measure
(GDP) deals poorly with environmental and economic welfare. For instance, natural disasters
e.g. Australia’s 2019-2020 bushfires and droughts, Japan’s March 2011 earthquake/tsunami
or human induced disasters e.g. Gulf of Mexico 2010 oil spill and the very recent Mauritius
oil spill from Japanese bulk carrier, often have mixed impacts on GDP.
 Using one of the examples mentioned above, discuss the likely short-term and longterm impact on GDP and justify the claim of many economists that real GDP deals
poorly with matters of environmental and economic welfare.
 Now, undertake an internet search to identify the motivation behind the construction
of National Resource Balance Sheets (NRBS) and suggest if there are any alternative
measures available to consider the environmental impacts on GDP.
You can read following references to address Question 3 answer.
1. Read the Reserve Banks’ of Australia’s (RBA) report Macroeconomic Effects of the
Drought and Bushfires
2. Watch how will bushfires affect Australia’s economy? & Australian bushfires: Blazes
taking toll on economy
3. Read the ABC articles for the very recent Mauritius oil spill from Japanese bulk
carrier since July 25- 2020.
4. You can read this ABC article, The GDP myth: The planet’s measure for economic
growth is deeply flawed and outdated for some alternatives measures of GDP that
considers the Environmental measure.

Question Four:

Watch the video ‘A Message From the Future’ and read the policy paper Can we afford
Green New Deal and discuss the economic motivation for the Green New Deal.

Question Five:

Read the ABC article ‘Australians create 67 million tonnes of waste each year. Here’s where
it all ends up’ to get an idea where our wastes end up. Read another ABC news article
‘Indonesian environmentalists accuse Australia of ‘smuggling’ plastic waste following China
ban’ published on the 30th April 2019. Summarise the concerns raised in this article. (For
your interest, information on WTOs anti-dumping legislation can be found here; information
on NSW Environment Protection Authority EPA NSW’s waste strategy can be found here.)
Briefly discuss ways how Australia can stop exporting its wastes and start recycling and
reusing its own waste? For answering this part, you can read different articles including this
and this.

Question Six:

Investigate the NSW State Government’s Department of Environment and Heritage website
the Biodiversity Offset Scheme. Discuss how the scheme operates and also discuss some of
the limitations associated with schemes of this kind

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