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Policy Life Cycle

Policy Life Cycle

Policy Life Cycle

Environmental policies are the enforced laws and regulations that oversee people’s interactions with the environment, protect the natural environment, and improve human well-being. Policies achieve this by monitoring the use of natural resources and preventing or reducing pollution of the environment. The policy life cycle has four steps: recognition, formulation, implementation, and control, illustrated in the discovery of ozone layer destruction (Wright and Broose, 2014).

The first step in the policy life cycle is recognition. In this step, an environmental problem is identified through scientific research, and findings are published. The media popularize the results, opposing views arise, and the government considers creating a policy. In 1974, two scientists, Molina and Rowland, researched the effects of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the atmosphere. They realized CFCs released chlorine that reacted with the ozone layer, destroying it and increasing the ultraviolet radiation’s penetration, and published this information. The media popularized the findings, and the government considered creating a policy (Wright and Broose, 2014).

The second step in the policy life cycle is formulation, whereby the policy is formulated. The National Academy of Sciences appointed a committee to investigate Molina and Rowland’s results, and their results aligned. In conjunction with the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer, their findings resulted in a call for global action. This led to the Montreal Protocol, where CFC production was reduced by 50%. The policy formulated considered its effectiveness, efficiency, and equity (Wright and Broose, 2014).

Implementation is the third step, where specific regulations and enforcement of the policy begin. CFC production was eventually proscribed as the ozone layer’s destruction advanced, and substitutes were manufactured instead. The final step in the policy life cycle is control, which involves monitoring the problem and ensuring its control. With substitutes of CFCs being readily available and a halt in the manufacture of CFCs implemented, CFCs concentration in the atmosphere reduced. The ozone hole seized to increase in size, improving the environment’s state (Wright and Broose, 2014).

To conclude, policies are fundamental in society to ensure human wellness and natural resource protection. Through this process, an environmental problem can be controlled and prevented through the development of policies. Policies formulated in the Montreal Protocol protected the environment and ensured human well-being.


Wright, R. and Broose, D., 2014. Environmental science. Pearson.


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The Steps of Policy Life Cycle

List four stages of the policy life cycle, and show how the discovery of ozone layer destruction and the subsequent responses to it illustrate the cycle.

Policy Life Cycle

Policy Life Cycle

  • Environmental Science: Toward A Sustainable Future

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