Browsing Public Policy Theses and Dissertations by Subject "Agriculture"
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- ItemCLIMATE CHANGE AND POLITICAL CONTENTION – A MECHANISM BASED FRAMEWORK(2019) Imran, Zafar; Gallagher, Nancy W; Patwardhan, Anand; Public Policy; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)This dissertation proposes a framework to systematically analyze the potential of climate change to cause social and political unrest. Extant literature generated on the topic seems to have come to a standstill in establishing whether such a link exists, as there is no clear evidence that climate-related stresses directly contributed to civil war onset. The framework put forth in this research makes the case that climate change process, contrasted from climate change variables aggregated at the country-year level, unfolds in a varied manner within and across societies. It is the interaction of changes in the natural system with a society’s preexisting social, economic, and political processes, in addition to coping responses from vulnerable populations, that determine the nature and trajectory of social and political stresses. The dissertation contends, most notably, that the fundamental problem with the extant analytical approach has more to do with ontological assumptions than explanatory approaches (qualitative vs. quantitative). Given the complexity and emergence inherent in the phenomenon under consideration, the positivist ontology is unsuited and incapable to reveal causal pathways linking climate change with predictors of social and political instability and conflict. This research uses critical realism as an ontological basis for the mechanism-based framework proposed in this dissertation. The framework is applied on the case study of Pakistan where direct and indirect effects of climate change are interacting with the country’s political economy, and imposing social and political stresses to the extent of stoking a social movement organized and run by vulnerable farmers. Intra-annual changes in the Indus stream-flows, as well as temporal and spatial changes in the long-term trends of temperature and rainfall have destabilized Pakistan’s agricultural sector. Coping responses taken by vulnerable populations appear to be not just ineffective but are producing system effects with society-wide implications. The result is a farmers’ movement that is although in its early phases, has become a potent political force, and has resulted in more than 700 large increasingly violent protests in the last few years alone.
- ItemHave the National Resources Inventories advanced conservation policy?(2012) Karetnikov, Daria; Sprinkle, Robert; Public Policy; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)Background. Over the last three decades, the USDA's conservation policy has changed dramatically. Not only has the number of programs multiplied and the scope of issues expanded, but a once-casual link between commodity programs and conservation activities has been formalized. One reason for the changes may have been an effort within the USDA's conservation agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), to collect information on natural resource conditions through the National Resources Inventories (NRIs). In the 1970s, Congress mandated the NRIs and also a national agricultural-conservation appraisal and the development of a national program to devise conservation-policy recommendations. Together these mandates constituted the Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act (RCA) appraisal process. The NRIs have been produced on a huge scale and through great effort, and they have evolved successfully over time. Recently formed Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) offered another opportunity to use the NRIs. But their integration into policy has been neither consistent nor smooth -- nor, heretofore, well understood. Question. Have the National Resources Inventories advanced conservation policy? Methods. I followed three policy layers over the last thirty-five years: the intra-agency dynamic that produced informational products; the USDA conservation-program structure, and the federal legislative branch in its policy-making dimension. In all, I interviewed over 40 experts, looked through nearly 800 speeches, reviewed 47 Congressional hearings, analyzed dozens of databases, and relied on hundreds of internal documents. Conclusion. Yes, the National Resources Inventories have advanced conservation policy. However, NRI influence has been directly unambiguous only once. NRI influence has mostly been through the RCA, and it has been greatest when support has been high at both agency and USDA levels, when participation from constituent USDA agencies and other federal agencies has been enthusiastic, when willingness to restructure programs according to actual findings has been ascendent, and when Congress members have been hearing about NRI results from many sources.
- ItemRISKS TO FOOD AVAILABILITY AND ACCESS FROM CLIMATE POLICIES: AN INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT OF REGIONAL FOOD AVAILABILITY AND ACCESS WITH ALTERNATIVE CLIMATE MITIGATION STRATEGIES TO 2050(2016) Cui, Yiyun; Hultman, Nathan E.; Gilmore, Elisabeth A.; Public Policy; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)Although mitigating GHG emissions is necessary to reduce the overall negative climate change impacts on crop yields and agricultural production, certain mitigation measures may generate unintended consequences to food availability and access due to land use competition and economic burden of mitigation. Prior studies have examined the co-impacts on food availability and global producer prices caused by alternative climate policies. More recent studies have looked at the reduction in total caloric intake driven by both changing income and changing food prices under one specific climate policy. However, due to inelastic calorie demand, consumers’ well-being are likely further reduced by increased food expenditures. Built upon existing literature, my dissertation explores how alternative climate policy designs might adversely affect both caloric intake and staple food budget share to 2050, by using the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM) and a post-estimated metric of food availability and access (FAA). My dissertation first develop a set of new metrics and methods to explore new perspectives of food availability and access under new conditions. The FAA metric consists of two components, the fraction of GDP per capita spent on five categories of staple food and total caloric intake relative to a reference level. By testing the metric against alternate expectations of the future, it shows consistent results with previous studies that economic growth dominates the improvement of FAA. As we increase our ambition to achieve stringent climate targets, two policy conditions tend to have large impacts on FAA driven by competing land use and increasing food prices. Strict conservation policies leave the competition between bioenergy and agriculture production on existing commercial land, while pricing terrestrial carbon encourages large-scale afforestation. To avoid unintended outcomes to food availability and access for the poor, pricing land emissions in frontier forests has the advantage of selecting more productive land for agricultural activities compared to the full conservation approach, but the land carbon price should not be linked to the price of energy system emissions. These results are highly relevant to effective policy-making to reduce land use change emissions, such as the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).