Course Outline

 

­­­­ECON 275 – ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS

All readings should be completed prior to lecture)

 

Syllabus  (PDF)               Grading Scale               Websites

 

DATES

TOPICS

READINGS AND ASSIGNMENTS

May

22

Visions for

the Future

Text: (TL)Reading: Chapters 1 and 2

 

Chapter 1 Lecture - Chapter 1 Lecture - Visions of the Future  (PPT)

 

Chapter 2 Lecture - The Economic Approach: Property Rights, Externalities, and Environmental Problems  (PPT)

 

Required Readings: A Great Civilization Brought Low by Climate Change (and, no, it’s not us)     How Do Economists Really Think About the Environment     6 ways climate change and disease helped topple the Roman Empire

 

Websites: EcoMENA     Qatar Ministry of Municipality and Environment Environmental Defense Fund     UN Environmental  Programme

 

Videos: Gaia Hypothesis (Theory)     Malthus, Population Growth and the Resource Base 

May

23

The Economic Approach: Property Rights, Externalities, and Environmental Problems

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapter 2

 

Chapter 2 Lecture - The Economic Approach: Property Rights, Externalities, and Environmental Problems  (PPT)

 

Required Readings: External Costs: Research Results on Socio-environmental Damages Due to Electricity and Transport     Should We Tax People for Being Annoying?

 

Additional Reading: Notes on Externalities     

 

Websites: Environmental Performance Index     OECD Environmental Data and Indicators     Resources for the Future  

 

Videos: Environmental Econ: Crash Course Economics     The Coase Theorem Explained     The Tragedy of the Commons

 

Class Discussion: Chapters 1 and 2     A Simple Question

 

Assignment 1 (Due June 1) – Looking at your home country, a country you most associate with, or a country in which you really have an interest, write a 750-word paper describing what you (and others for that matter) perceive to be the country’s most serious environmental concern (other than climate change). Be sure to describe the issue in detail and provide a summary how the problem is currently being addressed (if it is at all). Be sure to cite at least five (5) references.

May

24, 25

Evaluating Trade-Offs: Benefit-Cost Analysis and Other Decision-Making Metrics

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapter 3

 

Chapter 3 Lecture - Evaluating Trade-Offs: Benefit-Cost Analysis and Other Decision-Making Metrics  (PPT)

 

Handout-The Equimarginal Principle of Cost Effectiveness

 

Required Readings: Cost Benefit Analysis of a Net-Zero Energy Housing in Qatar     Environmental Impacts of Food Production    

 

Additional Reading: How to Perform a Cost Benefit Analysis     The Economics of Regulatory Repeal and Six Case Studies

 

Websites: Resources for the Future-Topics/Environmental Economics    

 

Videos: Intro to Cost-Benefit Analysis (Conservation Strategy Fund Series)

May 26

Valuing the Environment: Methods

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapter 4

 

Chapter 4 Lecture - Valuing the Environment: Methods   (PPT)

 

Required Readings: Hedonic Pricing Method    The Cost of a Human Life, Statistically Speaking   Ford Pinto Case

 

Videos: Economics: How to Calculate the Value of Life     Valuation of Ecosystem Services: Intro to Valuation     Valuation of Ecosystem Services: Contingent Valuation     Valuation of Ecosystem Services: Travel Cost Method

May

29, 30

Dynamic Efficiency and Sustainable Development

 

Depletable Resource Allocation: The Role of Longer Time Horizons, Substitutes, and Extraction Cost

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapters 5 and 6

 

Chapter 5 Lecture - Dynamic Efficiency and Sustainable Development   (PPT)

 

Chapter 6 Lecture - Depletable Resource Allocation: The Role of Longer Time Horizons, Substitutes, and Extraction Cost  (PPT)

 

Websites: Dynamic Efficiency Illustration   Our World in Data

 

Videos: Economics of Sustainability     What is Sustainable Development?

May 31

June 1

Energy: The Transition from Depletable to Renewable Resources

 

Recyclable Resources: Minerals, Paper, Bottles, and E-waste

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapters 7 and 8

 

Chapter 7 Lecture - Energy: The Transition from Depletable to Renewable Resources  (PPT)

 

Chapter 8 Lecture - Recyclable Resources: Minerals, Paper, Bottles, and E-waste   (PPT)

 

Required Readings: When Fossil Fuels Run Out, What Then?     What is Fracking and Why is it Controversial?      How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled

 

Videos: Animation of Hydraulic Fracturing – One View     Fracking 101: Why Fracked Gas is Dirty and Dangerous (Another View)    The War on Plastic isn’t Working – Recycling Myths Exposed     Cement and Concrete: The Environmental Impact

 

Assignment 2 - Cancelled

June 2

Review and

Catching-up Time

Review and Catching-up Time

Take-Home Exam 1 (PDF) - (Exam Due June 15)

 

Links to Articles:

10 Reasons Why Recycling Alone Won’t Save Us

    Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work

Towards a Circular Economy: Business Rationale for an Accelerated Transition   (PDF)

The Circular Economy In Detail

Environmental Impacts of Food     Solar Farm     Hit Hard by High Energy Costs, Hawaii Looks to the Sun

June

5, 6

 

 

Class Discussion of Assignment

 

Water: A Confluence of Renewable and Depletable Resources 

 

A Locationally Fixed, Multipurpose Resource: Land  

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapters 9 and 10

 

Chapter 9 Lecture - Water: A Confluence of Renewable and Depletable Resources   (PPT)

 

Chapter 10 Lecture - A Locationally Fixed, Multipurpose Resource: Land   (PPT)

 

Required Readings: Consequences will be dire’: Chile’s water crisis is reaching breaking point   Environmental Problems of Modern Cities     Experts Name the Top 19 Solutions to the Global Freshwater Crisis     Water Statistics in the State of Qatar 2017 

 

Additional Reading: High and Dry: Climate Change, Water, and the Economy (Read Executive Summary)     10 things to Know About the Impacts of Urbanisation    

 

Websites: UN-Water     Water.org    

 

Videos: Are Future Water Wars Inevitable?     Countries Are Building Economic Empires by Controlling Water Supply    Journey 2050: Land Use     Journey 2050: Water

June

7, 8

Common-Pool Resources: Commercially Valuable Fisheries

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapter 12

 

Chapter 12 Lecture - Common-Pool Resources: Commercially Valuable Fisheries   (PPT)

 

This chapter will rely heavily on the following videos. Please make sure to watch outside of class too!

 

Videos: Fishing (Sustainable Yield)     Fisheries Economics & Policy: Maximum Economic Yield     The Simple Economics of an Open-Access Fishery     Seapiracy in 6 minutes

 

 

June

9

Ecosystem Goods and Services: Nature’s Threatened Bounty    

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapter 13

 

Chapter 13 Lecture - Ecosystem Goods and Services: Nature’s Threatened Bounty   (PPT)

 

Required Reading: MDG Monitor     Role of Tourism in Sustainable Development    

 

Additional Reading: The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Report  

 

Videos: Can Eco-tourism Help Save the Ocean?     Valuation of Ecosystem Services: Classes of Values

June

12

Economics of Pollution Control:

An Overview   

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapter 14

 

Chapter 14 Lecture - Economics of Pollution Control: An Overview   (PPT)

 

Required Reading: Carbon Tax - Pros and Cons     What is Carbon Offsetting?     Qatar Airways Launches Voluntary Carbon Offset Programme for Passengers   Carbon offsets are a scam

 

Videos: Carbon Offsets   What is Carbon Trading?   The Love Canal Disaster: Toxic Waste in the Neighborhood     The Japanese Town That Was Poisoned

 

Assignment 3 (Due June 21) – Write a 750-word paper proposing a policy initiative you would recommend be implemented to address an air pollution problem that you perceive to be extremely harmful to society. Be sure to describe the problem and use economic tools in your policy proposal. Be sure to cite at least three (3) references.

June

13, 14

Stationary-Source Local and Regional Air Pollution

 

Mobile-Source Air Pollution

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapters 15, 16 and 17

 

Chapter 15 Lecture - Stationary-Source Local and Regional Air Pollution   (PPT)

 

Chapter 16 Lecture - Mobile-Source Air Pollution   (PPT)

 

Required Reading: Volkswagen: The Scandal Explained

 

Websites: Advantages And Disadvantages Of Ethanol    The Case for Electronic Road Pricing   Gas Prices Around the World     Transport and Environment

 

Videos: Are Electric Cars Really More Environmentally Friendly?   The Contradictions of Battery Operated Vehicles

 

June

15

Climate Change

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapter 17

 

Chapter 17 Lecture - Climate Change   (PPT)

 

Required Readings: Climate Change 2007:Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers   Is Human Activity Primarily Responsible for Global Climate Change?

 

Additional Readings: Ten Facts About the Economics of Climate Change and Climate Policy

 

Websites: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

 

Videos: Science Works: Protecting The Ozone Layer     What in the World? A Climate Change Game

June

16, 20  

Climate Change

 

Water Pollution  

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapters 17 and 18

 

Chapter 17 Lecture - Climate Change   (PPT)

 

Chapter 18 Lecture – Water Pollution   (PPT)

 

Required Readings: Carbon Dioxide Levels Now Higher Than Ever in Human History  The good, the bad and the ugly about ocean iron fertilization   Maps and Statistics Ocean Pollution     Marine and Ocean Pollution Statistics and Facts 2020     Water Pollution: Everything You Need to Know    

 

Websites: The Balance - Water Pollution Effects, Causes, and Solutions    

 

Videos: The Plastic Problem - A PBS NewsHour Documentary     What is WATER POLLUTION?

 

Interesting Article: Replacing A Coal Plant Takes An Infinite Number Of Wind Turbines

Take-Home Final Exam (PDF) - (Exam Due June 26)

 

Links: Health and Climate Change Country Profiles

List of Developing Countries

 Infographic: Which countries have the safest drinking water?

June

21, 22

 

Environmental Justice

 

The Quest for Sustainable Development

 

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapters 19, 20, 21

 

Video: Environmental Justice, Explained

 

Chapter 19 Lecture - Toxic Substances and Environmental Justice   (PPT)    

 

Chapters 20-21 Lecture - The Quest for Sustainable Development   (PPT)

 

Required Reading: The Delusion of Infinite Economic Growth   Black people over 65 far more likely to die from pollution-related disease than white seniors

 

June 23

Work on Take-Home Final Exam

Take-Home Final Exam Due June 26