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Government Regulations on Pollution

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Growing concerns about the environment’s well-being has become a focal point for many governments all over the world. Governments have allocated a substantial amount of resources and capital in an attempt to reduce pollution. Air pollution has led to harmful health effects and a depletion of the ozone layer. The depletion of the ozone layer results in higher levels of UVB reaching the Earth’s surface. This added UVB has been linked with increased cases of cataracts and melanoma development (epa.gov). Government regulations on pollution are costly to the tax payers and to the companies that must abide by these regulations. To reduce the expense of pollution reduction, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein suggest a different governmental approach to improve upon the standard already in place. In Chapter 12 on saving the planet, Thaler and Sunstein use the ideas of choice architecture and gentle nudges to expand the effort of protecting the environment by creating better incentives and feedback.
To control pollution levels, government regulators use a command and control regulation that does not allow flexibility for individuals or companies. Mandates are set that demand a certain reduction in pollution emissions. This lack of freedom of choice, obstructs the concept of libertarian paternalism that Thaler and Sunstein promote. “If the goal is to protect the environment, might good choice architecture be able to help?” (186). Better choice architecture would allow for individuals and companies to have the freedom of choice in regards to environmental protection and would nudge them towards a path better suited to solve the problems with pollution of the environment. The reasons for these environmental problems are that incentives are ins...

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...cern of many governments across the globe. Thaler and Sunstein suggest that reduction of pollution and the cost associated with this action can be achieved by improving incentives and feedback of environmental protection through better choice architecture and gentle nudges. I agree with many of the suggestions in this chapter on improving feedback of the actions that have negative environmental consequences. I think I will start being more aware of the impact my choices have on the environment. I could start looking at the disclosures of the companies I buy from and see what impact they have on the environment. I may also start purchasing products that are more energy efficient and advantageous in the long run. Even though these products may be more costly in the short run, I know I will be awarding the companies that are innovating technology for pollution control.
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