ECON20160 Economics of the Environment

Academic Year 2022/2023

This course is an introduction to the economics of the environment. Economists have an important role in helping design environmental policy to address key environmental challenges such as climate change, water conservation, or renewable energy deployment. This course provides an introduction to the use of economic principles in the analysis of environmental change and natural resource use and in designing appropriate policy responses. The course will equip students with the tools to participate in discussions of environmental policy through an economic lens. We will discuss the sources of environmental problems, monetary valuation of the environment, and policy instruments to resolve environmental issues. Key concepts include the optimal use of environmental goods, externalities, market failure and government intervention, public goods, property rights, and cost benefit analysis. The application of these tools to present-day local and global environmental policies, such as climate change, energy transition, water and nature conservation, will be discussed in lectures and in smaller group tutorials.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completing this module students should be able to
(a) Identify and evaluate environmental and resource issues from an economic perspective,
(b) Apply the principles and concepts of economic theory to resolving environmental issues,
(c) Appraise and question policies and programmes for environmental management,
(d) Explain and analyse examples of current applications of policy instruments to the environment using an economic framework.

Indicative Module Content:

The main topics covered in this module are the following:
INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS
Relationship between the economy and environment
Environmental challenges
Introduction to markets: demand and supply, consumer surplus, producer surplus
Efficiency

MARKET FAILURE: CAUSES AND SOME SOLUTIONS
Market failures
Property rights
Externalities
Public good theory
Asymmetric information
Government failure
Coase theorem

BENEFIT-COST ANALYSIS AND OTHER DECISION-MAKING OPTIONS
Normative criteria and benefit cost analysis
Benefit-cost analysis over time (dynamicefficiency)
How to implement BCA
Issues with BCA
Discount rates
Cost-effectiveness analysis

VALUATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT
Why do we need to value the environment
Methods to value the environment
Challenges to valuing the environment

OVERVIEW OF POLLUTION CONTROL
Definitions and Taxonomy of pollution
Market allocation and policy response
Cost-effective policy measures
Other policy dimensions

STATIONARY SOURCE LOCAL AND REGIONAL AIR POLLUTION
Command and control policies
Market-based approaches

MOBILE-SOURCE AIR POLLUTION
Subsidies and Externalities
Transport policy
fuel economy standards
fuel standards
taxes
congestion charging
labelling

ENERGY
Fossil fuels
natural gas
oil
coal
Electricity
fossil fuels
renewables
Energy policy instruments
energy efficiency
renewable energy policy
distributed energy

CLIMATE CHANGE
International climate change
Pricing vs quantity

WATER POLLUTION
Nature of water pollution
Traditional water pollution policy
Efficiency and cost-effectiveness
European /US/developing country experiences

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning

78

Lectures

24

Tutorial

6

Total

108

Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Learning is achieved in lectures and smaller group tutorials. In tutorials, students are encouraged to discuss the material and practise problem sets. A key activity in this module is the group project. Students are allocated a group in their tutorial and assigned a topic on which they present as a group later in the semester. This provides an opportunity for students to deepen their knowledge and engage in autonomous learning. DEvelopment of presentation skills and group team skills are also encouraged. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

It is recommended that students take Introduction to Economics or Principles of Microeconomics before taking this module.


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Incompatibles:
ECON30370 - Environmental Economics


 
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: Final online exam 2 hour End of Trimester Exam Yes Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No

30

Multiple Choice Questionnaire: 5 online quizzes Throughout the Trimester n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No

40

Continuous Assessment: Group project Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No

30


Carry forward of passed components
Yes
 
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students are given feedback on their midterm exam and the group project during the semester. They peer review each other's presentations.

Name Role
Mr Philip Carthy Tutor
Ms Elena Mazza Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
 
Spring
     
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Thurs 12:00 - 12:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 11:00 - 11:50
Tutorial Offering 1 Week(s) - 21, 23, 25, 29, 32 Mon 14:00 - 14:50
Tutorial Offering 5 Week(s) - 21, 23, 25, 29, 31 Tues 10:00 - 10:50
Tutorial Offering 6 Week(s) - 24, 26, 30, 32 Mon 14:00 - 14:50
Tutorial Offering 6 Week(s) - 22, 24, 26, 30, 32 Tues 10:00 - 10:50
Spring