С Reading

  1. l. Read the text and answer the questions.
  1. In what way does economic activity influence nature?
  2. What examples of the best global policy in the sphere of environmental protection were given in the text?
  3. What must be next steps of CITES?

Global Problems Need Global Solutions

Consider a global environmental problem like the depletion of the ozone layer caused by human release of chemicals.

As we will see when we look

at this in more detail, many types of activities release these chemicals, and the total of the global release causes the depletion. The harm of ozone depletion has global effects, with some countries more affected than others.

What would each country do if it sets its own policy toward this problem? From the purely national viewpoint, each country would recognize that chemical releases have some negative effect on its people, and it might use a policy to limit releases if it thought the national harm was large enough. But, for the whole world, total releases would be much too large. Each country would ignore the harm that its own releases did to other countries, so it would not be sufficiently stringent with its own environmental policy.

To get closer to the best global policy, the countries would need to find some way to cooperate. Each would need to tighten its standards compared to what it would do on its own. If each country does this, the whole world is better off. Many, but perhaps not all, of the countries will also be better off. Each country incurs some costs in tightening its standards, but each also derives benefits from the reduction of the environmental damage.

Still, it may be very difficult to reach this global agreement. One problem is that there may be disagreement about the costs of the environmental damage or the costs of tightening standards.

Science is unlikely to provide a definitive accounting, and countries differ in their willingness to take environmental risks. Even if this problem is not so large, others are likely to arise. Countries that suffer net losses from tightening may be unwilling to take part, unless they receive some other kind of compensation, given countries that gain from the global agreement have a perverse incentive. A country can gain even more by free-riding. That is, it can gain most of the benefits if other countries abide by the agreement to tighten standards, even if this country does not and it avoids the costs of tightening its own standards.

Because of the problem of free-riding, a global agreement needs some method of enforcement, to get “reluctant” countries to agree in the first place, and to assure that they abide by the agreement after they have it established. There is no global organization that can provide these enforcement services. Countries can establish an enforcement mechanism as part of the global agreement, but it is not clear what it should be. It is generally not possible to impose fines directly. One possible penalty is some kind of trade sanctions, to reduce the offending country’s gains from trade. Such sanctions also have costs for the countries imposing the sanctions, and in any case they often do not work.

This is a sobering analysis. When an environmental problem causes only domestic costs, it is up to the government of the country to address it. When countries have this problem spread transborderly but regionally among a small number of countries, it is more difficult but still may be solvable by negotiations. When the problem is global, a global (or nearly global) multilateral agreement is needed, but negotiating and enforcing this agreement may prove to be very difficult or impossible. Among these problems we can name four problems that are global in nature. We begin with a fairly effective global agreement to use trade policy to prevent the extinction of endangered species.

We then can name depletion of ocean fishing stocks, and the lack of any effective solutions to this global inefficiency. Then goes a successful, nearly global agreement to reverse ozone depletion. And we can conclude with the most daunting of global environmental issues, greenhouse gases and global warming.

Here we are going to dwell on the first problem. Extinction of species is a natural process. Still, within the past half century the specific role of human activity in causing extinction has become recognized and controversial. It is reckoned that human activities eliminated only 11 mammal species and 24 birds in the 18th century, then 29 mammals and 61 birds in the 19th century, and 52 mammals and 70 birds from 1900 to 1987. There is a general belief that there is a loss when a species becomes extinct, perhaps because there may be future uses for the species (for instance, as a source of medicinal products). Thus, a global effort to prevent extinction of species can be economically sensible.

Human activities contributing to extinction include destruction of habitat, introduction of predators, and pollution. In addition, excessive hunting and harvesting can also cause extinction. The specificity rule indicates that the best global policy to preserve species would be a policy that promotes the species through such direct means as protected parks and wild areas; ranching, cultivation, and similar management intended to earn profits from the ongoing existence of the species; and zoos to maintain species in captivity. While there is no global agreement to promote these best solutions, there is a global agreement to control the pressure of international demand.

In 1978 some countries signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). With 138 member countries by 1997, CITES establishes international cooperation to prevent international trade from endangering the survival of species. An international scientific authority decides which species are endangered.

Commercial trade is usually banned for species threatened with extinction — about 900 species, including elephants, gray whales, and sea turtles. To export these products for noncommercial purposes, a nation must obtain an export permit from the central authority, and it must have a copy of an import permit from a suitable buyer in a country that signed CITES. Commercial trade is limited for an additional 29,000 species because tree trade could lead to the threat of extinction.

No species with a trade ban has become extinct. Some, including the rhino and the tiger, continue to decline, but CITES has probably slowed the declines. Generally, CITES seems to be fairly effective.

Much of the conflict over endangered species naturally centers on Africa, with its unique biodiversity and its fragile ecosystems. The biggest fight so far has been over the fate of the African elephant, which is hunted for its ivory tusks.

The human slaughter of elephants accelerated at an alarming rate in the 1970s and 1980s. The problem was most severe in eastern Africa, north of the Zambezi River. The governments of Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia, while ostensibly committed to protecting elephants, were not preventing killing by poachers. The threat to elephants was weaker in southern Africa, south of the Zambezi, for three reasons: The governments of Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia enforced conservation more aggressively, agriculture was less of a threat to the wild animal population, and some elephants of Botswana and Zimbabwe had tusks of poor commercial quality.

In 1977, the African elephant was placed on the list of species with controlled trade. Public pressure from affluent countries to save the elephants became intense by the late 1980s. In 1989, most of the CITES countries signed a complete ban on exporting or importing ivory. The drastic reduction in demand, especially demand from the affluent countries, caused ivory prices to plummet, from $ 100 per kilogram to only $ 3 or $ 4 per kilogram.

Poaching decreased and elephant populations stabilized or even increased. The bans on trade in African elephants and their ivory appear to be successful. But CITES now must face the challenge of evaluating claims of sustainable use, rather than simply using its precautionary bans.

  1. 2. Decide whether these statements are True (T) or False (F).
  1. The harm of ozone depletion has global effects and every country suffers equally.
  2. For the whole world chemical releases cause less harm than for a single country.
  3. There is no global organization that can get “reluctant” countries to observe agreements after they are established.
  4. Some species with a trade ban have become extinct.
  5. The great reduction in demand, especially demand from affluent countries caused decrease of poaching in Africa.
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Источник: Е. Н. Малюга. Английский язык для экономистов: Учебник для вузов / Е. Н. Малюга, Н.              В. Ваванова, Г. Н. Куприянова, И. В. Пушнова. — СПб.: Питер,2005. — 304 с.: ил.. 2005

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