­­­­ECON 275 – ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS

All readings should be completed prior to lecture)

 

Syllabus  (PDF)               Grading Scale               Websites  

 

DATES

TOPICS

READINGS AND ASSIGNMENTS

Week 1

July

24, 26

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     Why do Societies Collapse?

Video fresh off the press: Qatar: Nature and development at a crossroads

Week 2

July 31

August 2

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     Ronald Coase and the Misuse of Economics     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

 

Problems: Chapters 1 and 2

 

Assignment 1 (Due August 21) – 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.

Week 3

August

7, 9

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: The Economics of Regulatory Repeal and Six Case Studies     Cost Benefit Analysis of a Net-Zero Energy Housing in Qatar    

 

Additional Reading: Environmental Impacts of Food Production     How to Perform a Cost Benefit Analysis

 

Websites: Resources for the Future-Topics/Environmental Economics    

 

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

Week 4

August

14, 16

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

 

Websites: Environmental Valuation Reference Inventory (EVRI) (easy to register an account)

 

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

Week 5

August

21, 23

Dynamic Efficiency and Sustainable Development

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapter 5

 

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

Week 6

August

28, 30

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

 

Energy: The Transition from Depletable to Renewable Resources

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapters 6 and 7

 

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

 

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

 

Websites: Our World in Data      

 

Videos: Economics of Sustainability     What is Sustainable Development?

Week 7

September 

4, 6

Energy: The Transition from Depletable to Renewable Resources Cont’d

 

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)   

 

Assignment 2 (Due September 18) – Although Qatar’s gas reserves are considered quite substantial, a number of other countries face the situation of no longer being able to rely on the export of their once substantial natural resource to contribute to economic growth. Choose a country (we exclude Qatar) in such a situation and write a 750-word paper describing 1) current and future projection of the supplies of the natural resource; 2) the contribution of that resource to the economy; and 3) What, if any, plans the country (or the industry) has made to address the situation (diversification, substitution, etc.). Be sure to cite at least five (5) references.

Take-Home Exam 1   (WORD) - (Exam Due September 25)

 

Environmental Impacts of Food Production

The Recycling Myth       Recycling and the Circular Economy

5 Real World Examples of the Tragedy of the Common

Week 8

September 11

(Fall break

no class)

September 13

 

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: Environmental Problems of Modern Cities     Experts Name the Top 19 Solutions to the Global Freshwater Crisis     Water Statistics in the State of Qatar 2015 

 

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

Week 9

September

18, 20

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!

 

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

Week 10

September

25, 27

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   Crop Production in the USA is Frequently Limited by a Lack of Pollinators

 

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

Week 11

October

2, 4

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

 

Videos: Carbon Offsets     The Story of Cap & Trade     The Love Canal Disaster: Toxic Waste in the Neighborhood     The Japanese Town That Was Poisoned

 

Assignment 3 (Due October 18) – Write a 500-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.

Week 12

 

October

9, 11

Stationary-Source Local and Regional Air Pollution

 

Mobile-Source Air Pollution

 

Climate Change

 

 

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)

 

Chapter 17 Lecture - Climate Change   (PPT)

 

Required Reading: The Facts on Fuel Economy Standards     Volkswagen: The Scandal Explained

 

Websites: Transport and Environment

 

Videos: Are Electric Cars Really More Environmentally Friendly?    The Contradictions of Battery Operated Vehicles   What's Behind Extreme Air Pollution in India

Week 13

October

16, 18

Climate Change Cont’d

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapter 17

 

Chapter 17 Lecture - Climate Change   (PPT)

 

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

 

Additional Readings: An Earth System Model Shows Self-Sustained Melting of Permafrost Even if All Man-Made GHG Emissions Stop in 2020     Rolls-Royce plans 16 mini-nuclear plants for UK     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

Week 14

October

23, 25

Water Pollution

Environmental Justice

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapters 18 and 19

 

Chapter 18 Lecture – Water Pollution   (PPT)

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

Required Reading: Maps and Statistics Ocean Pollution     Marine and Ocean Pollution Statistics and Facts 2020     Water Pollution: Everything You Need to Know    Black people over 65 far more likely to die from pollution-related disease than white seniors

 

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

Week 15

October 30

NO CLASS

Text: (TL) Reading: Chapters 20 and 21 (Read on your own)

Video: Environmental Justice, Explained

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

 

Week 16

Final Exam

Final Exam is Due 11:00 am on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. Exam can be found in Canvas under Assignments.