Environmental Economics

Core Course | 4 ECTS | Course: CMM 05 / CRD 05

Instructor: Dr. David Cook

Course Catalog Description

About the Course

The course introduces students to the basic principles of sensible utilization and preservation of environmental goods from the neoclassical perspective of environmental economics. It explores the main ways in which the market fails when it comes to the environment, discussing the pros and cons of different economic instruments for correcting these distortions. The course focuses on the topic of cost-benefit analysis, both from the small-scale perspective of projects and large-scale issues such as the tackling of climate change. Students are introduced to the different techniques that environmental economists apply when they endeavour to value the environment and changes in its quality.

Instructor

David is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Iceland. His research focuses on the interconnections between economies, human well-being and sustainability, with a particular focus on the valuation and management of ecosystem services in the Arctic. He is also employed by the University of Iceland as a lecturer in Environmental Economics. In 2018, he completed his PhD in Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Iceland. His project focused on the development of an economic model for evaluating the environmental costs of utilising geothermal energy. 

"Students at UW are always enthusiastic and keen to explore and engage with the course concepts, regardless of their previous level of experience in economics – they need no encouragement to commence critical thinking."

Description

The course provides an overview of environmental and resource economics as well as public policy tools and instruments in the context of management of coastal and marine environments and sustainable development (SD). The course introduces elements of standard economic analysis (neo-classical economics) as well as other approaches such as ecological economics. A focus is placed on how to manage resources in such a way that the health of ecosystems as well as the economy is taken into consideration. The course aims to provide students with the necessary tools to make informed choices with regard to environmental and resource management in coastal and marine communities.

On completion of the course, a student:

  • understands the various ways in which markets fail and consider these issues in relation to coastal and marine areas.
  • can apply theories of environmental economics and various policy instruments.    
  • understands the practice and implications of cost-benefit analysis, including in connection to climate change.
  • can demonstrate knowledge and practical expertise in non-market valuation techniques for valuing environmental impacts, and communicate this through surveys, reports and presentations. 
  • can develop/plan, draft, revise and complete a research writing project.     
  • comprehends the implications of environmental and resource economics with respect to marine spatial planning and sustainable development.