Course Outline 2009/2010
Environmental Economics and Principles of Climate Change
Natural Resources Group
Economics and Policy
6706 KN Wageningen
Course code: ENR 22806
Examiners Ekko van Ierland
Kris van Koppen
Secretariat: Sjoukje Atema
Wil den Hartog
Tel. 0317 – 484255
First meeting: Monday, September 7th, 13.30 15.15
Room: C82 (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)
Contents: 1. Introduction
2. Contents of the course and
Activities of the students
3. Organisation of the course
6. Detailed study scheme
7. Examination date and place
The course provides an introduction to the principles of economic and policy aspects of climatic
change. From the economics perspective we explain the functioning of the market mechanism
and its failure in protecting the environment and various options for climate policies. Specific
attention is given to public goods and externalities. The course deals with the costs and benefits
of various climate options and provides the disciplinary background to understand national and
international climate policies, both for adaptation and mitigation. Based on up to date literature the
students will get acquainted with recent developments in international climate policies and the
economic aspects. The specific role of costs benefit analysis and scenario studies are discussed
and the role of discounting based on a thorough introduction in relevant aspects of economic
From the sociological and policy science perspective we will present basic principles of
social and political theory will be introduced and apply them in explaining social dynamics climate
change policy. Key issues that will be highlighted are: structural and cultural approaches to
environmental reform, agenda setting and policy making, risk perception, international policy
regimes, and the roles of civil society and NGOs.
The course will use results of IPCC studies and the Stern report, in combination with studies
from the international literature. Special attention will be paid to the Kyoto protocol and the post
2. Aims of the course
The aims of the course are to acquaint MSc students in the natural sciences with the theoretical
background to understand the basic principles of economic and policy aspects of climate change.
Students learn to understand how the interactions between economic activity and the climate
system can be understood and how mitigation and adaptation options can be analyzed both at the
national and international level. Aspects of decision making under uncertainty will be discussed.
At the end of the course students are able to demonstrate:
Understanding of basic principles of environmental economics and policy
Capability to apply these principles on key issues of climate change
A thorough understanding of the economic and policy aspects of climate change mitigation
Insight in the tradable permit system, the clean development mechanism (CDM) and joint
Understanding of the positions of the various countries and regions in the climate debate
and the post Kyoto negotiations and EU climate change regulation.
Insight in the influence of public perception and NGO action on climate change policy.
Attending the lectures and tutorials and active participation in the activities. Reading the course
material, discussing the contents, studying and writing a paper; making exercises and answering
questions. An approximate division of activities is:
lectures and studying 60%
writing a paper 20%
other activities 20%
The detailed study schedule is provided on the last pages of this course outline.
The grade for the course will be determined based on: the written examination of the articles in the
reader, papers provided on EDUWeb and the material covered in the lectures.
A pass (a grade of at least 5.5) is required to fulfil the requirements of the course.
The literature for this course consists of:
For the economics part: papers placed on EDUWeb at the site of the course.
For the sociology and policy science part: papers placed on EDUWeb at the site of the course.
Other material provided during the course and the lectures.
6. Detailed study scheme
Week Lecture: time Topic Literature: lecturer
Week 1 Introduction: economics and EDUWeb: Ekko van
Monday climate Ierland
13:30 15.15 David Pearce
Tuesday 2 Introduction: social science and See EDUWeb Kris van
Sept 8 15.30 17.15
Week 2 3 Economics of mitigation and EDUWeb: Ekko van
Monday adaptation Ierland
13:30 15.15 World Bank
Perman et al.
Tuesday 4 Principles of policy analysis See EDUWeb Kris van
Sept 15 15.30 17.15
Week 3 5 Cost benefit analysis and EDUWeb: Ekko van
Monday discounting Nordhaus: Ierland
Rolling the dice:
Tuesday 6 International regimes and climate See EDUWeb Aarti Gupta
Sept 22 15.30 17.15
Week 4 7 Emission trading, JI, CDM EDUWeb: Ekko van
Monday Perman et al. Ierland
Tuesday 8 Climate and risk perception See EDUWeb Kris van
Sept 29 15.30 17.15
Week 5 9 Incentives for international EDUWeb: Ekko van
Monday environmental agreements STACO paper Ierland
Tuesday 10 NGO’s and civil society See EDUWeb Kris van
Oct 6 15.30 17.15
Week 6 11 Conclusions+evaluation EDUWeb: Ekko van
Monday Summaries of Ierland
IPCC II en III
Tuesday 12 EU policy in detail See EDUWeb Guest lecture
Oct 13 15.30 17.15
Every week tutorials:
Wednesday (related to Monday lecture) 13.30 15.15 C82 Van Ierland
Friday (related to Tuesday lecture) 13.30 15.15 C104 Van Koppen
7. Examination date and place:
Wednesday October 28, 2009