Ecosystem adaptation to climate change

Ecosystem adaptation to climate change
Ecosystem adaptation to climate change

Audience: Assume that your intended audience is the same as in the essays you’ve written in this class, i.e. ?smart, but not an expert in natural or social science.
? Quotations: You should use your own words and aggressively minimize the use of quoted material. For the exam as a whole a few short quoted phrases in total are acceptable. Avoid full sentence quotes.
? Format: Follow formatting requirements in the course “Writing expectations” handout. Use 1.5 spacing for the main text and print doubled-sided if possible.
? Length: There is a strict maximum of 175 words per question. Report your word count at the end of each response (e.g. “word count: 171”). You will be challenged to respond thoroughly but concisely. Be as specific and precise as possible. Anything over 175 words will not be considered or graded. In-text citations can be excluded from the word count.
? References: You must cite within your essay and include a “References” section after the end of your essay in which you formally reference each source you use (textbook, articles, or other). Do not cite lecture but rather formal published sources to support your statements.
o NEW FOR FINAL: If you are citing a reference not from our reading list you must specify the page number for the material you are drawing from even if you’re not quoting that material verbatim.

1. Ecosystem adaptation to climate change
Reading for this queation: Boyd, J.W. (2010). Ecosystems and Climate Adaptation. RFF Issue Brief, 10-16.
What concretely does Boyd (2010) mean when he argues that we should use “hedging strategies to manage the resilience of ecosystems” in the face of climate change? Explain in plain English what economists mean by the notion of “option value”. Illustrate this definition by describing how the concept applies to actions we might consider for enhancing ecosystem resilience (i.e. what’s an example of an action with option value in this context)? In general, would we expect option value in this context to go up or down as future ecological conditions become more uncertain due to climate change? Explain the reasoning for your answer.
2. Adaptation of California’s water system to climate change
Reading for this queation: Hanak, E., & Lund, J. (2008). Adapting California’s water management to climate change. San Francisco, CA: Public Policy Institute of California.

Management of both (1) water supply and (2) flood control in California will likely need to adapt in the future to a changing climate. Drawing on Hanak and Lund (2008) contrast California’s capacity for adapting to meet water supply versus flood control needs. Discuss the various environmental and institutional factors in California that have led to the difference in adaptive capacity for these two needs.
3. Clean Power Plan proposed rule
Reading for this queation: Environmental Protection Agency (2014). “Executive Summary,” Regulatory Impact Analysis: Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule, pp. ES-1:ES-29.

What exactly is the GHG reduction objective of the Clean Power Plan? (Hint: you’ll have to look outside of our class reading for this.) What sector(s) is(are) covered? The EPA set state-specific rate-based goals to achieve the overall objective (EPA 2014). Explain exactly what that means and use the specific proposed goal for California to illustrate. Explain the economic reasoning for going “outside the fence” with state-based goals instead of facility-based requirements. The EPA evaluated costs and benefits across several scenarios. For the year 2030, consider specifically what you can call the ‘central case’ (for simplicity) which is based on “Option 1”, “regional” compliance costs, and a 3% discount rate. What are the (1) estimated total compliance costs, (2) estimated benefits [including both climate benefits and co-benefits], and (3) the resulting net benefits? What is the ratio of monetized climate to non-climate benefits?
4. Environmental tradeoffs in meeting agricultural demand
Reading for this queation: Tilman, D., Balzer, C., Hill, J., & Befort, B. L. (2011). Global food demand and the sustainable intensification of agriculture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(50), 20260-20264.

What do Tilman et al. (2011) estimate will be the level of growth in world demand for crop output from 2005 through 2050? Explain the step by step approach used to generate this estimate (include the following words/phrases: per capita GDP, population, growth rate, per capita protein (or caloric) demand). Besides improvement and diffusion of technology what are the two input variables that Tilman et al. (2011) consider adjusting to meet global demand in 2050? Select one of the two input variables and suppose that we choose to set its level as small as possible through 2050. Explain the implications of this choice for (A) the other input variable and (B) the three dimensions/types of environmental degradation associated with the two input choices? [Assume for both questions (A) and (B) that technology transfer and improvement are each held constant at some level and assume that projected global crop demand is satisfied.]




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