Communicating Environmental Science to Political Decision Makers: Summer 2004 Workshop Final Briefings were held on Wednesday, August 18th in room 1512 International Affairs Building
Students in the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy must learn to bridge the worlds of science and policy. The final workshop briefings are the final products of semester long work on a proposed but not yet enacted state, federal or local environmental law with an emphasis on management issues. These projects are focusing on the science basis of the management problem and students are required to communicate the environmental science aspects of the management problem to political decision makers who are not scientists. The following is a brief description of the five student projects presented during this summer’s final workshop briefings
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety – Faculty Advisor Professor Bob Cook
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety provides protection of biodiversity from threats posed by Living Modified Organisms (LMOs). LMOs are the modification of existing genes and the introduction of new genes. While the benefits include the preservation of endangered species, the risks include genetic pollution and unintended impact on target species as well as other species. During their presentation students accessed this protocol to determine whether the benefits outweigh the risks.
Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act – Faculty Advisor Professor Bob Cook
Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act addresses the problem of buffalo migrating outside of Yellowstone Park borders. Due to an insuregence of Brucellosis, a disease that causes abortion in cattle and buffalo, buffalo migration becomes a substantial problem for the cattle industry. The main issue addressed by the protocol has been disease control. Students analyzed the science behind the proposed solution and examined the measures of its success.
Clean Power Act - Faculty Advisor Professor Andrea Schmitz
The Clean Power Act targets electric power plants and addresses the harmful results of emissions such as: carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and mercury. In turn the Clean Power Act will help to limit the dangerous effects of global climate change, ground-level ozone, acid rain, and bioaccumulation. The proposed legislative solution reduces emissions by implementing an emissions allowance system which provides flexibility and benefits for the reduction of emissions. Students analyzed the act by further exploring the drawbacks and benefits of its implementation.
Solid Waste Management - Faculty Advisor Professor Steve Cohen
Both landfilling and incineration are New York City’s methods of waste disposal. This method of waste management is problematic due to the gaseous emissions and groundwater contamination. Current legislation has been in opposition to solving the waste problem in New York City. Students assessed the costs and technologies available in order to propose a feasible solution.
2:45-3:05- Watershed Protection – Faculty Advisor Professor Steve Cohen
The government is obligated to ensure clean drinking water to the public which totals 9 million in New York City. Current threats to providing clean water are agricultural and developmental. Students attempted to propose a scientific solution that is feasible within legislation.