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However, it is impossible to solve the existing international environmental problems without economic and political losses that mean a serious threat to national interests. As it has been already said, the prevention of environmental pollution is expansive. Moreover, the modern economy of all countries of the world is historically oriented on the exploitation of natural resources and, consequently, it cannot be immediately redirected on the environmentally friendly technologies. Such a shift would be strategically important but, at the same time, it would immediately affect national interests of states. For instance, the decrease of oil and natural gas consumption would lead to a substantial shift in industrial structure in economies of many countries since it will be necessary to find new sources of energy that means additional researches, development of new technologies and their implementation, and all this need will need additional funding. Moreover, it would probably make new products more expansive and, thus, less competitive and again this is a direct threat to national interests.
No wonder that poor and rich countries also argues about the possible ways of solving international environmental problems. For instance, at the Rio Conference of 1992, poor developing countries emphasized development and global equity concerns while the rich industrialized countries emphasized issues related to international governance of environment (Smith 2004). Naturally, the difference in the position of poor and rich countries can be logically explained. Obviously, developing countries, being economically poor, realize that they have a bunch of socio-economic problems which, at the present moment, are much more significant and important than environmental ones. Consequently, they would rather focus on the solution of socio-economic problems than on environmental ones. Moreover, even if they are willing to solve environmental problems, they, as it has been just mentioned above, do not have either financial or technological resources to solve them. As a result, they naturally appeal to the international community, notably to rich countries, hoping from international support in their efforts of solving environmental problems in terms of international treaties, for instance.
On the other hand, rich countries, having sufficient financial, technological and professional human resources, are more concerned about the effective use of these resources. Unquestionably, they can fully control the use of funds they spend on the solution of international environmental problems on their own territory in terms of some international programs. Obviously, they can help either financially or technologically poor countries, but this is where the major problems begin. In fact, often it is quite difficult to trace the way the financial help, for instance, was used by the government of a developing country, or any organization in this country. Anyway, there is the risk that financial or even technological help would be misused or simply stolen out. At the same time, environmental protection is really expansive and needs a lot of funds. In fact, the more developed the country is the more expansive is the environmental protection. In this respect, it is possible again to refer to the refusal of the US to sign the Kyoto Protocol because it is obvious that the fulfillment of its norms will lead to enormous financial losses of American company as well as federal budget (Smith 2004). As a result, developed countries are more concerned on the effective governance of the fulfillment of existing international treaties, agreements, and programs since it is mainly developed countries that pay for the environmental protection worldwide.
However, there is even a more serious obstacle in the way of solving international environmental problems. This is the enormous gap that exists between countries in the modern world. In this respect, it should be said that the leaders of rich and poor countries have different perspectives not only on environmental problems but also on their causes and ways of solving. Practically, it means that often poor countries underline that their ‘contribution’ in the pollution of the environment is incomparably lower than that of developed countries. As a result, they view developed countries as the main source of the environmental pollution and many of the existing international environmental problems.
Furthermore, the level of economic development of poor and rich countries is absolutely different that also influences the perspective they view environmental problems. In fact, poor countries are often unable to cope not only with international environmental problems but even with the environmental problems on the local level basically because of the lack of financial resources, technologies and professionals. On the other hand, rich countries, being able to improve dramatically the situation within their own territory are not always willing to help poorer states to overcome existing environmental problems even though it is clear that these problems affect the entire world directly or not.
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Environmental economics is a branch of economics, which deals with the question of the causes and solutions of environmental problems. Ecological economics considers the economy to be a part of the ecosystem, which focuses on preserving natural capital. Until the mid-1980s, environmental economics and natural resource economics were two independently evolving disciplines. The environmental economics […]
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Unquestionably, environmental problems cannot be located in a definite region or state but they inevitably affect the entire world and, thus, need united efforts of all nations throughout the world to get these problems solved. The necessity of the solution of environmental problems is nowadays practically unarguable and world political and economic leaders as well as numerous public and international organizations underline that it is necessary to work out effective tools to solve environmental problems, or at least, minimize their negative effects. Paradoxically, despite the recognition of the threat to the future of the world and mankind on the international level, the international environmental problems still remained unresolved or the efforts to solve them are insufficient. Consequently, it is possible to presuppose that there are serious obstacles in the way of solving the existing international environmental problem, which need to be researched in order to eliminate them.
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