Macro Modeling of Residuals Discharges and Discharge Reduction Costs
As stated in chapter 2, analyses at the micro and regional levels provide useful results in and of themselves and also provide essential inputs for macrolevel analyses. However, certain critical issues being debated currently in the national arena relating to residuals management and residuals management costs can only be addressed by analyses at the macrolevel. As concern for environmental quality and restrictions on the discharge of residuals to the environment have increased, and legislation for tightening such restrictions further has been passed and is in the process of being implemented, several important questions have been raised at the national level. Can the United States afford the costs of cleaning up? What portion of the gross national product (GNP) is represented by REQM costs? How can environmental quality aspects be handled in assessing national economic growth and societal welfare?
An attempt to shed some light on these questions was the objective of the macrolevel analyses undertaken by the Quality of the Environment program. In this and the next chapter we discuss the results of those analyses with respect to the magnitude of REQM costs for the U.S. economy and the consideration of REQM impacts and costs in national income accounting.
To provide some perspective on REQM problems and costs at the national level, the Quality of the Environment program cooperated with other RFF programs--principally the population program--to develop projections into the future of residuals discharges and discharge reduction costs. This enterprise was largely designed and led by Ronald G. Ridker of RFF, and it is his report to the U.S. Commission on Population Growth and the American Future on which parts of this chapter are