Questions

1 For your local region, find out about its water supply and how the water is used (e.g. by domestic users, agriculture, industry, etc.). What are likely to be the trends in its use over the next 50 years due, for instance, to population changes or changes in agriculture or industry? What are the possibilities for increased supply and how might these be affected by climate change?

2 For your local area, find out about current environmental problems such as sea level rise due to subsidence, over-use of groundwater and air pollution affecting forests. Which of these are likely to be exacerbated by climate change? Try to estimate by how much.

3 For your local region, identify the possible impacts of climate change over the next 100 years and quantify them as far as you can. Attempt to make an estimate of the cost of the damage for each impact. How far could adaptation reduce each type of damage?

4 From the information in Chapter 6, make estimates of possible climate change by the middle of the next century for typical regions of boreal forest. Then estimate from Figure 7.16 for each of the three tree species what loss of productivity might occur in each case.

5 Make an estimate of the total volume of ice in the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps. What proportion would have to melt to increase the sea level by the 6 metres or so which occurred during the last interglacial period?

6 In the past, human communities have adapted to changes of many kinds including some changes in climate. It is sometimes argued that, because the adaptability of human beings is not fully allowed for, the likely damage from the impacts of climate change in the future tends to be overestimated. Do you agree?

7 In economic cost-benefit analyses, it is often necessary to attach a value to a 'statistical life'.81 It is not human life itself that is being valued but a change in the risk of death averaged over a population of human beings. One way of attempting this valuation is to consider a person as an economic agent capable of producing economic output. However, the preferred approach is to value a statistical life on the basis of what individuals are willing to pay or accept for changes in the risk of death. This approach tends to produce very different money values between developed countries and developing countries. Do you think this is defensible? Give up to five examples of the analysis of particular environmental problems for which you think it would be useful to include the valuation of a statistical human life. Look for values that have been attributed in different circumstances. Do questions of equity have any relevance in your examples?

8 Increasing demand for biofuels substituting for gasoline or diesel for transport is leading to increasing use of land for biofuel crops. Find out how much land might be needed and the degree of competition with other crops (e.g. food or forests) and suggest how sustainable land use can be promoted.

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Your Alternative Fuel Solution for Saving Money, Reducing Oil Dependency, and Helping the Planet. Ethanol is an alternative to gasoline. The use of ethanol has been demonstrated to reduce greenhouse emissions slightly as compared to gasoline. Through this ebook, you are going to learn what you will need to know why choosing an alternative fuel may benefit you and your future.

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