Taking Sides : Clashing Views on Environmental Issues

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  • Edition: 12th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2006-09-25
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin
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This Twelfth Edition of TAKING SIDES: CLASHING VIEWS ON ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES presents current controversial issues in a debate-style format designed to stimulate student interest and develop critical thinking skills. Each issue is thoughtfully framed with an issue summary, an issue introduction, and a postscript. An instructor's manual with testing material is available for each volume. USING TAKING SIDES IN THE CLASSROOM is also an excellent instructor resource with practical suggestions on incorporating this effective approach in the classroom. Each TAKING SIDES reader features an annotated listing of selected World Wide Web sites and is supported by our student website, www.mhcls.com/online.

Table of Contents

Preface v
Introduction xv
Issue 1. Is the Precautionary Principle a Sound Basis for International Policy?
YES: Nancy Myers, from "The Rise of the Precautionary Principle; A Social Movement Gathers Strength," Multinational Monitor (September 2004)
NO: John D. Graham, from "The Perils of the Precautionary Principle: Lessons from the American and European Experience," Heritage Lecture #818 (January 15, 2004)
Nancy Myers, communications director for the Science and Environmental Health Network, argues that because the precautionary principle "makes sense of uncertainty," it has gained broad international recognition as being crucial to environmental policy.
John D. Graham, dean of the Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School, argues that the precautionary principle is so subjective that it permits "precaution without principle" and threatens innovation and public and environmental health.
It must therefore be used cautiously.
Issue 2. Is Sustainable Development Compatible With Human Welfare?
YES: Jeremy Rifkin, from "The European Dream: Building Sustainable Development in a Globally Connected World," E Magazine (March/April 2005)
NO: Ronald Bailey, from "Wilting Greens," Reason (December 2002)
Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, argues that Europeans pride themselves on their quality of life, and their emphasis on sustainable development promises to maintain that quality of life into the future.
Environmental journalist Ronald Bailey states that sustainable development results in economic stagnation and threatens both the environment and the world's poor.
Issue 3. Should a Price Be Put on the Goods and Services Provided by the World's Ecosystems?
YES: Jim Morrison, from "How Much Is Clean Water Worth?" National Wildlife (February/March 2005)
NO: Marino Gatto and Giulio A. De Leo, from "Pricing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: The Never-Ending Story," BioScience (April 2000)
Jim Morrison argues that ecosystem services such as cleaning water, controlling floods, and pollinating crops have sufficient economic value to make it profitable to spend millions of dollars to protect natural systems.
Professors of applied ecology Marino Gatto and Giulio A. De Leo contend that the pricing approach to valuing nature's services is misleading because it falsely implies that only economic values matter.
Issue 4. Is Biodiversity Overprotected?
YES: David N. Laband, from "Regulating Biodiversity: Tragedy in the Political Commons," Ideas on Liberty (September 2001)
NO: Howard Youth, from "Silenced Springs: Disappearing Birds," Futurist (July/August 2003)
Professor of economics David N. Laband argues that the public demands excessive amounts of biodiversity largely because decision makers and voters do not have to bear the costs of producing it.
Wildlife conservation researcher and writer Howard Youth argues that the actions needed to protect biodiversity not only have economic benefits, but also are the same actions needed to ensure a sustainable future for humanity.
Issue 5. Should Environmental Policy Attempt to Cure Environmental Racism?
YES: Julian Agyeman, from "Where Justice and Sustainability Meet," Environment (July/August 2005)
NO: David Friedman, from "The 'Environmental Racism' Hoax," The American Enterprise (November/December 1998)
Professor Julian Agyeman argues that although there is much debate over whether sustainable development means addressing environmental issues or environmental justice, equity, human rights, and poverty reduction, the two can and must be integrated.
Writer and social analyst David Friedman denies the existence of environmental racism.
He argues that the environmental justice movement is a government-sanctioned political ploy that will hurt urban minorities by driving away industrial jobs.
Issue 6. Can Pollution Rights Trading Effectively Control Environmental Problems?
YES: Charles W. Schmidt, from "The Market for Pollution," Environmental Health Perspectives (August 2001)
NO: Brian Tokar, from "Trading Away the Earth: Pollution Credits and the Perils of 'Free Market Environmentalism,'" Dollars & Sense (March/April 1996)
Freelance science writer Charles W. Schmidt argues that economic incentives such as emissions rights trading offer the most useful approaches to reducing pollution.
Author, college teacher, and environmental activist Brian Tokar maintains that pollution credits and other market-oriented environmental protection policies do nothing to reduce pollution while transferring the power to protect the environment from the public to large corporate polluters.
Issue 7. Should the Military Be Exempt from Environmental Regulations?
YES: Benedict S. Cohen, from "Impact of Military Training on the Environment," Testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (April 2, 2003)
NO: Jamie Clark, from "Impact of Military Training on the Environment," Testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (April 2, 2003)
Benedict S. Cohen argues that environmental regulations interfere with military training and other "readiness" activities, and that though the U.S. Department of Defense will continue "to provide exemplary stewardship of the lands and natural resources in our trust," those regulations must be revised to permit the military to do its job without interference.
Jamie Clark argues that reducing the Department of Defense's environmental obligations is dangerous because both people and wildlife would be threatened with serious, irreversible, and unnecessary harm.
Issue 8. Should the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Be Opened to Oil Drilling?
YES: Dwight R. Lee, from "To Drill or Not to Drill: Let the Environmentalists Decide," The Independent Review (Fall 2001)
NO: Jeff Bingaman, et al. from "Dissenting Views on ANWR Drilling," Senate Energy Committee (October 24, 2005)
Professor of economics Dwight R. Lee argues that the economic and other benefits of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) oil are so great that even environmentalists should agree to permit drilling—and they probably would if they stood to benefit directly.
The Minority Members of the Senate Energy Committee objected when the Committee approved a bill that would authorize oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
They argued that though the bill contained serious legal and environmental flaws, the greatest flaw lay in its choice of priorities: Wilderness is to be preserved, not exploited.
Issue 9. Should the U.S. Be Doing More to Combat Global Warming?
YES: Jerald L. Schnoor, from "Global Warming: A Consequence of Human Activities Rivaling Earth's Biogeochemical Processes," Human and Ecological Risk Assessment (December 2005)
NO: Bush Administration, from "Executive Summary: Global Climate Change Policy Book" (February 2002)
Jerald L. Schnoor, co-director of the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research at the University of Iowa, argues that global warming is real, human activities are to blame, and stabilizing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels within the next century will require drastic action.
The Bush administration's plan for dealing with global warming insists that short-term economic health must come before reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
It is more useful to reduce "greenhouse gas intensity" or emissions per dollar of economic activity than to reduce total emissions.
Issue 10. Will Hydrogen End Our Fossil-Fuel Addiction?
YES: David L. Bodde, from "Fueling the Future: The Road to the Hydrogen Economy," Statement Presented to the Committee on Science, Subcommittee on Research and Subcommittee on Energy, U.S. House of Representatives (July 20, 2005)
NO: Michael Behar, from "Warning: The Hydrogen Economy May Be More Distant Than It Appears," Popular Science (January 2005)
David L. Bodde argues that there is no question whether hydrogen can satisfy the nation's energy needs.
The real issue is how to handle the transition from the current energy system to the hydrogen system.
Michael Behar argues that the public has been misled about the prospects of the "hydrogen economy." We must overcome major technological, financial, and political obstacles before hydrogen can be a viable alternative to fossil fuels.
Issue 11. Is Additional Federal Oversight Needed for the Construction of LNG Import Facilities?
YES: Edward J. Markey, from "LNG Import Terminal and Deepwater Port Siting: Federal and State Roles," Testimony before House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs (June 22, 2004)
NO: Donald F. Santa, Jr., from "LNG Import Terminal and Deepwater Port Siting: Federal and State Roles," Testimony before House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs (June 22, 2004)
Edward J. Markey argues that the risks—including those associated with terrorist attack—associated with LNG (liquefied natural gas) tankers and terminals are so great that additional federal regulation is essential in order to protect the public.
Donald F. Santa, Jr., argues that meeting demand for energy requires public policies that "do not unreasonably limit resource and infrastructure development." The permitting process for LNG import facilities should be governed by existing Federal Regulatory Commission procedures without additional regulatory impediments.
Issue 12. Is It Time to Revive Nuclear Power?
YES: Michael J. Wallace, from "Nuclear Power 2010 Program," Testimony before the United States Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, Hearing on the Department of Energy's Nuclear Power 2010 Program (April 26, 2005)
NO: Editors of Public Citizen, from "The Big Blackout and Amnesia in Congress: Lawmakers Turn a Blind Eye to the Danger of Nuclear Power and the Failure of Electricity Deregulation," Public Citizen (September 8, 2003)
Michael J. Wallace argues that because the benefits of nuclear power include energy supply and price stability, air pollution control, and greenhouse gas reduction, new nuclear power plant construction—with federal support—is essential.
Public Citizen argues that nuclear power is too unreliable and risky to count on.
We must "embrace safe, clean, sustainable energy sources."
Issue 13. Do Falling Birth Rates Pose a Threat to Human Welfare?
YES: Michael Meyer, from "Birth Dearth," Newsweek (September 27, 2004)
NO: David Nicholson-Lord, from "The Fewer the Better," New Statesman (November 8, 2004)
Michael Meyer argues that when world population begins to decline after about 2050, economies will no longer continue to grow, government benefits will decline, young people will have to support ever more elders, and despite some environmental benefits, quality of life will suffer.
David Nicholson-Lord argues that the economic problems of population decline all have straightforward solutions.
A less crowded world will not suffer from the environmental ills attendant on overcrowding and will, overall, be a roomier, gentler, less materialistic place to live, with cleaner air and water.
Issue 14. Is Genetic Engineering the Answer to Hunger?
YES: Gerald D. Coleman, from "Is Genetic Engineering the Answer to Hunger?" America (February 21, 2005)
NO: Sean McDonagh, from "Genetic Engineering Is Not the Answer," America (May 2, 2005)
Gerald D. Coleman argues that genetically engineered crops are useful, healthful, and nonharmful, and although caution may be justified, such crops can help satisfy the moral obligation to feed the hungry.
Sean McDonagh argues that those who wish to feed the hungry would do better to address land reform, social inequality, lack of credit, and other social issues.
Issue 15. Are Marine Reserves Needed to Protect Global Fisheries?
YES: Robert R. Warner, from "Marine Protected Areas," Statement Before the Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans Committee on House Resources, United States House of Representatives (May 23, 2002)
NO: Michel J. Kaiser, from "Are Marine Protected Areas a Red Herring or Fisheries Panacea?" Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (May 2005)
Professor of marine ecology Robert R. Warner argues that marine reserves, areas of the ocean completely protected from all extractive activities such as fishing, can be a useful tool for preserving ecosystems and restoring productive fisheries.
Professor Michel J. Kaiser argues that although the use of marine protected areas can be beneficial, limiting fishing effort is a more effective way of achieving sustainable fisheries.
Issue 16. Should DDT Be Banned Worldwide?
YES: Anne Platt McGinn, from "Malaria, Mosquitoes, and DDT," World Watch (May/June 2002)
NO: Donald R. Roberts, from Statement before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, Hearing on the Role of Science in Environmental Policy-Making (September 28, 2005)
Anne Platt McGinn, a senior researcher at the Worldwatch Institute, argues that although DDT is still used to fight malaria, there are other, more effective and less environmentally harmful methods.
She maintains that DDT should be banned or reserved for emergency use.
Donald R. Roberts argues that the scientific evidence regarding the environmental hazards of DDT has been seriously misrepresented by anti-pesticide activists.
The hazards of malaria are much greater and, properly used, DDT can prevent them and save lives.
Issue 17. Do Environmental Hormone Mimics Pose a Potentially Serious Health Threat?
YES: Michele L. Trankina, from "The Hazards of Environmental Estrogens," The World &I (October 2001)
NO: Michael Gough, from "Endocrine Disrupters, Politics, Pesticides, the Cost of Food and Health," Cato Institute (December 15, 1997)
Professor of biological sciences Michele L. Trankina argues that a great many synthetic chemicals behave like estrogen, alter the reproductive functioning of wildlife, and may have serious health effects—including cancer—on humans.
Michael Gough, a biologist and expert on risk assessment and environmental policy, argues that only "junk science" supports the hazards of environmental estrogens.
Issue 18. Is the Superfund Program Successfully Protecting the Environment from Hazardous Wastes?
YES: Robert H. Harris, Jay Vandeven, and Mike Tilchin, from "Superfund Matures Gracefully," Issues in Science & Technology (Summer 2003)
NO: Margot Roosevelt, from "The Tragedy of Tar Creek," Time (April 26, 2004)
Environmental consultants Robert H. Harris, Jay Vandeven, and Mike Tilchin argue that though the Superfund program still has room for improvement, it has made great progress in risk assessment and treatment technologies.
Journalist Margot Roosevelt argues that because one-quarter of Americans live near Superfund sites, and sites such as Tar Creek, Oklahoma, remain hazardous, Superfund's work is clearly not getting done.
Issue 19. Should the United States Reprocess Spent Nuclear Fuel?
YES: Phillip J. Finck, from Statement Before the House Committee on Science, Energy Subcommittee, Hearing on Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing (June 16, 2005)
NO: Matthew Bunn, from "The Case Against a Near-Term Decision to Reprocess Spent Nuclear Fuel in the United States," Testimony for the House Committee on Science, Energy Subcommittee, Hearing on Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing (June 16, 2005)
Phillip J. Finck argues that by reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, the United States can enable nuclear power to expand its contribution to the nation's energy needs while reducing carbon emissions, nuclear waste, and the need for waste repositories such as Yucca Mountain.
Matthew Bunn argues that there is no near-term need to embrace nuclear spent fuel reprocessing, costs are highly uncertain, and there is a worrisome risk that the increased availability of bomb-grade nuclear materials will increase the risk of nuclear war and terrorism.
Contributors 350(5)
Index 355

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