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- 11 Dec 2013
The Role of Fiscal Policies in Health Promotion English Click to Access: PDF READ Franco Sassi1, Annalisa Belloni1, Chiara Capobianco1 1: OECD, France 11 Dec 2013
The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets. Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of […]
The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets.
Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.”
The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. The detailed rules for the implementation of the Protocol were adopted at COP 7 in Marrakesh, Morocco, in 2001, and are referred to as the “Marrakesh Accords.” Its first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012.
Published on Mar 20, 2014 National Measurement and Flourishing Dr Felicia Huppert Flourishing Across Europe: Application of a New Conceptual Framework for Defining Well-Being Felicia A. Huppert and Timothy T. C. So Author information ► Article notes ► Copyright and License information ► This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Go to: […]
Published on Mar 20, 2014
National Measurement and Flourishing
Dr Felicia Huppert
Governments around the world are recognising the importance of measuring subjective well-being as an indicator of progress. But how should well-being be measured? A conceptual framework is offered which equates high well-being with positive mental health. Well-being is seen as lying at the opposite end of a spectrum to the common mental disorders (depression, anxiety). By examining internationally agreed criteria for depression and anxiety (DSM and ICD classifications), and defining the opposite of each symptom, we identify ten features of positive well-being. These combine feeling and functioning, i.e. hedonic and eudaimonic aspects of well-being: competence, emotional stability, engagement, meaning, optimism, positive emotion, positive relationships, resilience, self esteem, and vitality. An operational definition of flourishing is developed, based on psychometric analysis of indicators of these ten features, using data from a representative sample of 43,000 Europeans. Application of this definition to respondents from the 23 countries which participated in the European Social Survey (Round 3) reveals a four-fold difference in flourishing rate, from 41% in Denmark to less than 10% in Slovakia, Russia and Portugal. There are also striking differences in country profiles across the 10 features. These profiles offer fresh insight into cultural differences in well-being, and indicate which features may provide the most promising targets for policies to improve well-being. Comparison with a life satisfaction measure shows that valuable information would be lost if well-being was measured by life satisfaction. Taken together, our findings reinforce the need to measure subjective well-being as a multi-dimensional construct in future surveys.
The Science of Well-being
Wed, 17th May 2006
How much do we know about what makes people thrive and societies flourish? While a vast body of research has been dedicated to understanding social problems and psychological disorders, we know remarkably little about the positive aspects of living – about what makes our life happy and meaningful. Felicia Huppert takes us on a tour of her new book, The Science of Well-being, in which she and her co-writers search for the answers to these questions
Uploaded on Mar 30, 2010 Murray Gell-Mann, the 2004-2005 Pardee Visiting Professor of Future Studies, argues that global problems cannot be considered in isolation, and he wonders about the best ways to separate environmental issues from those involving population growth.Run time 1:27 Hosted by Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future on September […]
Uploaded on Mar 30, 2010
Murray Gell-Mann, the 2004-2005 Pardee Visiting Professor of Future Studies, argues that global problems cannot be considered in isolation, and he wonders about the best ways to separate environmental issues from those involving population growth.Run time 1:27
Hosted by Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future on September 27, 2005.
News coverage of environmental issues can be difficult, in part, because those who are affected—whether the effect is economic or environmental—routinely exaggerate their claims. Non-governmental organization advocates pull “facts” in one direction; big
business tugs them in another, and sometimes neither leaves the cushy offices in the northwest section of Washington, D.C. Truth resides in a place somewhere in between.
Preventing illness is the best way to get health-care costs down. So why aren’t governments doing more to protect the environment? We’ve long known that environmental factors contribute to disease, especially contamination of air, water, and soil. Scientists are now learning the connection is stronger than we realized.
New research shows that 60 per cent of emerging infectious diseases affecting humans — those that rapidly increase in incidence or geographic range — start with animals, two thirds from wild animals. Lyme disease, West Nile virus, Ebola, SARS, AIDS… these are just a few of the hundreds of epidemics that have spread from animals to people. A study by the International Livestock Research Institute concludes that more than two-million people a year are killed by diseases that originated with wild and domestic animals. Many more become ill.
Habitat destruction is the process in which natural habitat is rendered functionally unable to support the species present. In this process, the organisms that previously used the site are displaced or destroyed, reducing biodiversity. Habitat destruction by human activity is mainly for the purpose of harvesting natural resources for industry production andurbanization. Clearing habitats for agriculture is the principal cause of habitat destruction. Other important causes of habitat destruction include mining, logging, trawling and urban sprawl. Habitat destruction is currently ranked as the primary cause of species extinction worldwide. It is a process of natural environmental change that may be caused byhabitat fragmentation, geological processes, climate change or by human activities such as the introduction of invasive species, ecosystem nutrient depletion, and other human activities mentioned below.
Tropical rainforests have received most of the attention concerning the destruction of habitat. From the approximately 16 million square kilometers of tropical rainforest habitat that originally existed worldwide, less than 9 million square kilometers remain today. The current rate of deforestation is 160,000 square kilometers per year, which equates to a loss of approximately 1% of original forest habitat each year.
Other forest ecosystems have suffered as much or more destruction as tropical rainforests. Farming and logging have severely disturbed at least 94% of temperate broadleaf forests; many old growth forest stands have lost more than 98% of their previous area because of human activities. Tropical deciduous dry forests are easier to clear and burn and are more suitable for agriculture and cattle ranchingthan tropical rainforests; consequently, less than 0.1% of dry forests in Central America’s Pacific Coast and less than 8% in Madagascarremain from their original extents.
Habitat destruction caused by humans includes conversion of land to agriculture, urban sprawl, infrastructure development, and other anthropogenic changes to the characteristics of land. Habitat degradation, fragmentation, and pollution are aspects of habitat destruction caused by humans that do not necessarily involve overt destruction of habitat, yet result in habitat collapse. Desertification, deforestation, and coral reef degradation are specific types of habitat destruction for those areas (deserts, forests, coral reefs).
Geist and Lambin (2002) assessed 152 case studies of net losses of tropical forest cover to determine any patterns in the proximate and underlying causes of tropical deforestation. Their results, yielded as percentages of the case studies in which each parameter was a significant factor, provide a quantitative prioritization of which proximate and underlying causes were the most significant. The proximate causes were clustered into broad categories of agricultural expansion (96%), infrastructure expansion (72%), and wood extraction (67%). Therefore, according to this study, forest conversion to agriculture is the main land use change responsible for tropical deforestation. The specific categories reveal further insight into the specific causes of tropical deforestation: transport extension (64%), commercial wood extraction (52%), permanent cultivation (48%), cattle ranching (46%), shifting (slash and burn) cultivation (41%), subsistence agriculture(40%), and fuel wood extraction for domestic use (28%). One result is that shifting cultivation is not the primary cause of deforestation in all world regions, while transport extension (including the construction of new roads) is the largest single proximate factor responsible for deforestation.
While the above-mentioned activities are the proximal or direct causes of habitat destruction in that they actually destroy habitat, this still does not identify why humans destroy habitat. The forces that cause humans to destroy habitat are known as drivers of habitat destruction.Demographic, economic, sociopolitical, scientific and technological, and cultural drivers all contribute to habitat destruction.
Demographic drivers include the expanding human population; rate of population increase over time; spatial distribution of people in a given area (urban versus rural), ecosystem type, and country; and the combined effects of poverty, age, family planning, gender, and education status of people in certain areas. Most of the exponential human population growth worldwide is occurring in or close tobiodiversity hotspots. This may explain why human population density accounts for 87.9% of the variation in numbers of threatened species across 114 countries, providing indisputable evidence that people play the largest role in decreasing biodiversity. The boom in human population and migration of people into such species-rich regions are making conservation efforts not only more urgent but also more likely to conflict with local human interests. The high local population density in such areas is directly correlated to the poverty status of the local people, most of whom lacking an education and family planning.
From the Geist and Lambin (2002) study described in the previous section, the underlying driving forces were prioritized as follows (with the percent of the 152 cases the factor played a significant role in): economic factors (81%), institutional or policy factors (78%), technological factors (70%), cultural or socio-political factors (66%), and demographic factors (61%). The main economic factors included commercialization and growth of timber markets (68%), which are driven by national and international demands; urban industrial growth (38%); low domestic costs for land, labor, fuel, and timber (32%); and increases in product prices mainly for cash crops (25%). Institutional and policy factors included formal pro-deforestation policies on land development (40%), economic growth including colonization and infrastructure improvement (34%), and subsidies for land-based activities (26%); property rights and land-tenure insecurity (44%); and policy failures such as corruption, lawlessness, or mismanagement (42%). The main technological factor was the poor application of technology in the wood industry (45%), which leads to wasteful logging practices. Within the broad category of cultural and sociopolitical factors are public attitudes and values (63%), individual/household behavior (53%), public unconcern toward forest environments (43%), missing basic values (36%), and unconcern by individuals (32%). Demographic factors were the in-migration of colonizing settlers into sparsely populated forest areas (38%) and growing population density — a result of the first factor — in those areas (25%).
There are also feedbacks and interactions among the proximate and underlying causes of deforestation that can amplify the process. Road construction has the largest feedback effect, because it interacts with—and leads to—the establishment of new settlements and more people, which causes a growth in wood (logging) and food markets. Growth in these markets, in turn, progresses the commercialization of agriculture and logging industries. When these industries become commercialized, they must become more efficient by utilizing larger or more modern machinery that often are worse on the habitat than traditional farming and logging methods. Either way, more land is cleared more rapidly for commercial markets. This common feedback example manifests just how closely related the proximate and underlying causes are to each other.
The rapid expansion of the global human population is increasing the world’s food requirement substantially. Simple logic instructs that more people will require more food. In fact, as the world’s population increases dramatically, agricultural output will need to increase by at least 50%, over the next 30 years. In the past, continually moving to new land and soils provided a boost in food production to appease the global food demand. That easy fix will no longer be available, however, as more than 98% of all land suitable for agriculture is already in use or degraded beyond repair.
The impending global food crisis will be a major source of habitat destruction. Commercial farmers are going to become desperate to produce more food from the same amount of land, so they will use more fertilizers and less concern for the environment to meet the market demand. Others will seek out new land or will convert other land-uses to agriculture. Agricultural intensification will become widespread at the cost of the environment and its inhabitants. Species will be pushed out of their habitat either directly by habitat destruction or indirectly by fragmentation, degradation, or pollution. Any efforts to protect the world’s remaining natural habitat and biodiversity will compete directly with humans’ growing demand for natural resources, especially new agricultural lands.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment assessed the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being. From 2001 to 2005, the MA involved the work of more than 1,360 experts worldwide. Their findings provide a state-of-the-art scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems and the services they provide, as well as the scientific basis […]
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment assessed the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being. From 2001 to 2005, the MA involved the work of more than 1,360 experts worldwide. Their findings provide a state-of-the-art scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems and the services they provide, as well as the scientific basis for action to conserve and use them sustainably.
By Johan Ahlander and Alister Bull STOCKHOLM/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three American scientists won the 2013 economics Nobel prize on Monday for research that has improved the forecasting of long term asset prices, a hot topic since the collapse of the U.S. housing market bubble prompted a global financial meltdown. “There is no way to predict […]
By Johan Ahlander and Alister Bull
STOCKHOLM/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three American scientists won the 2013 economics Nobel prize on Monday for research that has improved the forecasting of long term asset prices, a hot topic since the collapse of the U.S. housing market bubble prompted a global financial meltdown.
“There is no way to predict the price of stocks and bonds over the next few days or weeks,” The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in awarding the 8 million crown ($1.25 million) prize to Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert Shiller.
“But it is quite possible to foresee the broad course of these prices over longer periods, such as the next three to five years. These findings … were made and analyzed by this year’s Laureates,” the academy said.
Better understanding of what drives prices over the long term can make markets function better, while failure of investors to recognize when rising asset prices become detached from underlying fundamentals can create bubbles.
Such was the case in U.S. housing, where collapse of the market caused the 2007-2009 global financial crisis. Some observers warn other bubbles have since developed in emerging markets, driven by ultra-easy U.S. monetary policy.
Shiller’s work had led him to suggest back in 2005 that the U.S. housing market might be over-heating, and its recent strength has won his attention again.
“It is up 12 percent in the last year. This is a very rapid price increase right now, and I believe that it is accelerated somewhat by the Fed’s policy,” Shiller told Reuters.
Shiller helped create a closely watched gauge of U.S. housing prices and in June this year warned of a potential new housing bubble in some of America’s largest cities.
“This financial crisis that we’ve been going through in the last five years has been one that seems to reveal the failure to understand price movements,” Shiller told Reuters after learning that he had been chosen for the prize.
Fama, tipped as a Nobel winner for many years, has been called the father of modern finance and is well-known for research showing that certain groups of stocks tend to outperform over time.
Their work helped the emergence of index funds in stock markets, the award-giving body said.
Peter Englund, professor of banking at the Stockholm School of economics and member of the prize committee, said their research had deeply influenced modern finance.
“The most obvious application, that follows on from Fama’s research, is the insight that you can’t beat the market. It is impossible to prove that equity analysis is worth the money,” he told Reuters.
“That has led to the development of index funds and that most households actually put their savings in index funds.”
In addition, the behavior of asset prices are key to decisions such as savings or house buying, and therefore play a vital role national economic policy, the academy said.
“Mispricing of assets may contribute to financial crises and, as the recent global recession illustrates, such crises can damage the overall economy,” it added.
Fama and Hansen are professors at the University of Chicago, while Shiller is a professor at Yale University.
“A lot of people had told me they hoped I would win it, but I am aware that there are so many other worthy people that I had discounted it, so I would say no, I did not expect it,” Schiller told a news conference.
The economics prize, officially called the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, was established in 1968. It was not part of the original group of awards set out in dynamite tycoon Nobel’s 1895 will.
The U.S. Federal Reserve has held interest rates near zero since late 2008 and almost quadrupled its balance sheet to around $3.7 trillion through a campaign of bond buying, or quantitative easing, to hold down long term borrowing costs.
Placing more emphasize on avoiding asset price bubbles, and financial stability in general, has been a controversial topic for many years in policy-making circles.
Central bankers traditionally try to avoid targeting asset bubbles with a blunt instrument like interest rates. But the severe harm done when a bubble bursts means that, in the United States at least, they are thinking more broadly about the unintended consequences of their monetary policy decisions.
“When asset prices are getting way out of line it should be cause for alarm. The monetary authorities should lean against extreme asset price movements,” Shiller said.
(Reporting by Niklas Pollard and Johan Ahlander; Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Ralph Boulton)