Week 2 Introduction to environmental policy not completed (missing 2 readings) Flashcards Preview

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Institutions, strategies, rules, and methods for making collective choice and carrying it out, not just laws made by actors in public, private and civil sector


Policy cycle

Describes the various stages in the policy process, which is continual 1. Agenda setting - includes the identification of an issue 2. Policy formulation - includes setting objectives, identification of costs, estimation of effects, and selection of appropriate policy tool from a list of solutions 3. Policy legitimisation - includes insuring selected instruments have necessary support (legislative/executive approval, seeking consent, referenda, etc.) 4. Policy implementation - includes selection of implementing agency, ensuring sufficient resources are available 5. Policy evaluation - includes assessment of how successful the policy is/is being implemented 6. Policy change - includes continuation, modification or discontinuation of the policy based on the outcome of the evaluation


Policy streams

Refers to the confluence of three “streams’ or aspects that are needed to create momentum and place issues on the policy agenda, three streams are: 1. problem stream: evidence of the existence of problems 2. policy stream: available policies to deal with issues 3. political stream: political climate or willingness to act


How can politics impact policies?

  • Politics can hinder policy response to environmental problems due to pol. divisions and contentions over values and knowledge
  • Big question: what can and should be done?
  • Logic does not always prevail in arguments, as people protect their interests
  • Taking politics into consideration can help anticipate political issues in policy design and advocacy


Environmental policies

Rules and institutional arrangements to address: 1. problems created by human use of natural resources and human impacts on natural environment 2. social problems human face in trying to secure and protect limited resources


Why study environmental policy?

1. to understand, find and improve ways for: >meeting human needs >protecting non-use/non-market resources and goods >controlling degradation of planet’s value

2. to counteract market failures (while technologies, science an business can help collective action issues may hinder effectiveness in absence of policies)

3. to understand why policies and institutions can fail and how to improve them


Why use framework to evaluate environmental policies?

Using frameworks to study environmental policy helps

  • clarify assumptions
  • focus on critical features
  • organize complexity


Describe Ostrom's Institutional Analysis and Development Framework.

Ostrom's IAD highlights that characteristics of actors, resources and existing governance systems determine interaction between actors and with the situation, as well as impact, and successful policy implementation, which in turn influence interaction through feedback loops.


How did environmental issues/activism evolve?

Move from local to global issues

  • 1. generation (pre 1960s): concerned with preservation and conservation (wildlife/habitat protection, soil erosion, local pollution, resource allocation)
  • 2. generation - modern environmentalism (1960-90s): focus on population growth, pesticides, technology, desertification, resource depletion, industrial pollution
  • 3. generation - global issues (1980s - ): attention on cross-boundary issues (acid rain, ozone depletion, rainforest destruction, toxins, climate change, biodiversity loss, GMO, urbanisation, etc


Describe 4 other organising frameworks for evaluating environmental policy.

  1. values: determine what type of ecology people want to live in
  2. politics: considers what type of political process is most suited to maintaining the environment
  3. technology & science: looks at whether science and technology can solve problems as quickly as we create them
  4. policy design and economics: evaluates which administrative arrangements are most effective in protecting the environment


Describe the timeline of US environmental policy development and instruments used.

  • Initially: mostly focused on developing regulatory and administrative infrastructure at the national level and command-and-control policies, though flexibility increased from 1960s onwards
  • 1970s: US EPA created, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Resource Conservation & Recovery Act, Toxic Substance Control Act
  • 1980s: Superfund (=fund to clean up petrochemical pollution)/CERCLA, Toxics Release Inventor
  • 1990s: revision and modification of original legislation e.g. 1990 Clean Air Act; inclusion of voluntary programs to involve the private sector e.g. EPA Energy Start Program (1992), EPA 33/50 Program (1994), ISO 14001 environmental mgmt system (1996); other: Acid Rain Program, Montreal Protocol, Kyoto Protocol, emergence of watershed councils
  • 2000: more regional,local and municipal initiatives e.g. on GHG reductions, PlaNYC, California solar initiative (2006), Cartagena Protocol (2003), Great Lakes Compact (2009)


Root vs Branch (muddling through) approach for complex policy problems (Reading)

  1. Root: rational-comprehensive evaluation, characterised by:
    • clearly defines values and objectives separately = prerequisite for empirical analysis of policy options
    • means-end analysis approach, whereby ends are isolated first, and means to achieve them are sought after
    • "good" policy test: policy is the most appropriate means to achieve the desired end
    • analysis is comprehensive and every relevant factor is taken into account
    • theory is often heavily relied upon
  2. branch: incremental approach to policy evaluation through use of successive limited comparisons, characterised by:
    • selection of values is not distinct from analysis of needed action (closely intertwined)
    • as such means-ends analysis is generally not appropriate/limited
    • "good" policy test: agreement of various analysts on a policy (note: not agreement that it is the most appropriate means to achieve the end)
    • analysis is limited by the fact that important outcomes, policy alternatives of affected values may be neglected
    • successive comparison reduces/eliminates reliance on theory


Why is the branch method/muddling through preferable?

  • preference of the public are often not known, hence objectives may not be clear
  • difficult to rank values
  • social objectives do not always have the same relative values
  • limited information and capacity (human, financial, time)
  • politics may prevent agreement on the rationally "best" policy
  • incremental adjustment of policies helps overcome uncertainties, can avoid serious lasting mistakes, can remedy past errors relatively quickly, makes policies more responsive