Academic journal article Journal of College Science Teaching

Totaling the Damage

Academic journal article Journal of College Science Teaching

Totaling the Damage

Article excerpt

From climate change to overfishing to damaging the ozone layer, the environmental challenges from the past 40 years have not only been daunting, but expensive. Now, a group of scientists are starting to give us a rough idea of just how expensive. But, just as impressive as the overall cost is a new sense of who is paying for this damage.

"What's really striking about the results," explains Thara Srinivasan, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, "is that we've found that the costs and the responsibilities of ecological damage around the world are distributed quite unevenly with poor countries shouldering a disproportionate burden."

Srinivasan is a research scientist at the university's Pacific Ecoinformatics and Computational Ecology Lab. She and a group of researchers from several universities combed official estimates of environmental damage worldwide. They looked at which countries were creating the damage and which countries were enduring the damage and sorted it by low-, middle-, and high-income countries.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group explained that they limited their accounting to the 40 years between 1961 and 2000. …

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