Sunday, February 28, 2010
On one hand, I definitely value people more than fish, but on the other hand, I know that people are more adaptable than fish. My personal response is that Sen. Feinstein is being short-sighted. Do you agree?
Saturday, February 27, 2010
One man interviewed in the article doesn't like the tax, saying, "I don't think we should have to pay for bags at the grocery store." I guess he doesn't realize he's been paying them all along through higher prices for his groceries!
Friday, February 26, 2010
Depending on the way they are constructed, poll questions have the ability to cause a biased response favoring the person or group that creates them. A prime example is a poll that was released last week by a public opinion research firm in Annapolis, MD. The poll asked:
“Which do you think should be a higher priority for Governor Martin O’Malley’s administration right now?
• Taking steps to create jobs and improve Maryland’s economy, or
• Taking steps to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.”
The poll was paid for by the Maryland Builders Association, a group that is interested in dodging new stormwater regulations that are proposed for the state. The poll created the false sense that if the regulations took effect then jobs would either be lost or not created. Poll results showed that 77% of people statewide favored the choice of an improved economy. By constructing the question as they did the MBA made people choose a side when in reality people would like to see both occur. The fact of the matter is that pollution in the Chesapeake Bay has hurt the state’s economy, and an effort to curb pollution would have a positive effect.
When reading this article it made me think of all the times I filled out polls quickly, while failing to think about what was being asked. It seems as though it is an easy task to sway people with the wording of a poll, which is unsettling. In a society where polls are used in a variety of ways, it is important to read carefully for a hidden agenda.
After reading the article I totally agree with the CBF writer. New regulations would go a long way towards making the Bay healthier. The fishing industry which is a huge part of the economy in Maryland would see a boost in harvests, and the overall health of the Bay would draw more tourists. It would be interesting to force those that were responsible for the wording of the poll to live on an extremely polluted waterway, and to see if their mindsets would change. I have a feeling that they would realize that both of these are essential for the growth of Maryland as a state, and that with a healthier Bay comes a better economy.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
I believe the responsibility should fall where the carbon is released. In this case, China would be held accountable. If fireworks are purchased in a state where they are legal, then shot off in a state where they are banned, the blame will fall where they were shot off and not where they were purchased. If carbon emissions are taxed in the producing nation then consumers of the
product would feel the effect and demand would decrease. All nations should do their part to reduce carbon emissions. The government of the consumer nations should demand lower carbon products. This would be an incentive for countries like China to find cleaner methods of production. In the end, it will most likely be the consumers who pay for any decrease in carbon emissions.
Monday, February 22, 2010
I read the article “Could Chicken Manure Help Curb Climate Change” by Brian Winter which is about how chicken manure when incinerated can produce a byproduct called biochar to help reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. This biochar represents a cheap and affordable way to deal with greenhouse gases and is environmental friendly. The biochar helps to reduce greenhouse gases by trapping carbon emissions in the ground for up to 1000 years and taking out CO2 from the air. Biochar acts as an excellent organic fertilizer which helps produce healthier plants that take out even more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. In addition to chicken manure, biochar can be produced from wood and switch grass too. The machine that incinerates the chicken manure can produce up to 9000 pounds of biochar a day and, “can sell high-quality biochar for $1 a pound” (Winter). When incinerated, the machine produces no smell and smoke while using a very little oxygen. This possesses a potential way for farmers to be very productive and creates a whole market demand for biochar.
I think the use of biochar is a great step in helping to reduce greenhouse gases. It is an environmental friendly way of going about trying to lower the amount of CO2 we put into the air. Although this is a step forward I still think we should still try and relay less on gasoline because it produces a large amount of the CO2 in the air. This machine producing biochar seems too good to be true. Actually doing something with the chicken manure ensures that the poop will not be dumped into local ecosystems that end up harming them. I think biochar is a smart way of going about reducing the greenhouse emissions and a great way to produce better crops for consumption.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Apart from the lack of diversity that would follow, this would be devastating to the economy of the Great Lakes. Some attempts have already been made to keep the invasive Asian carp out, such as by connecting a $9 million electric fence. Although this may sound like a lot to spend to protect from a carp attack, the fishing industry of the Great Lakes is estimated to be $7 billion annually. The carp will affect every state and province which relies on the Lakes. There will be some adapting that can be done to harness all benefits from the carp, but changes will cost money. This will forever change the lifeline of the Great Lakes economy for the worse, and there doesn’t seem to be a cure in sight for an already troubled region.
This article details a plan that is about to be introduced in Pennsylvania, by Gov. Edward Rendell, to tax the natural gas industry. This plan, if put into motion, could put hundreds of millions of dollars back into a struggling budget. When looking at last year’s numbers it was estimated that with the tax the state would have made $107 million in its first year.
The idea for this tax arises because of the great influx of energy giants coming to drill for natural gas in the state. For example Mobil has just agreed to pay $41 billion for XTO Energy Inc. in part because of the drilling sites it holds in Pennsylvania. There was also an instance when the state opened 32,000 acres of state forestland to drilling; the leases brought in $128.5 million-- twice the amount officials expected.
With the increase of drilling the state is making more money, but there are some concerns regarding the environment. Drilling for natural gas is done through a process called hydrofracking, a process requiring millions of gallons of water. With its demand for so much water it creates a few environmental problems, including water pollution, and forest fragmentation.
To alleviate these concerns the Susquehanna River Basin Commission regulates how much water companies can withdraw for fracking. They are hoping that with the tax there will be more money to hire more inspectors to cover the increasing amount of wells. In addition to the regulations PennFuture has called for a temporary stop to drilling in state forests until scientists have studied its effects on wildlife and habitat.
I think that the tax is an excellent idea; it has the ability to increase the state’s budget. This in turn allows the state to better public education, and public roads among other important things. I also believe that the state of Pennsylvania is taking many steps in the right direction to make sure that the drilling companies are not hurting the environment while they go about their business.