Environmental and Natural Resource Economics Economics 4600

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Environmental and Natural Resource Economics Economics 4600. Instructor: David A. Penn. Environmental and natural resource economics. This course focuses on five primary questions…. Question #1: Why do environmental problems occur?.
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Environmental and Natural Resource EconomicsEconomics 4600Instructor: David A. PennEnvironmental and natural resource economics
  • This course focuses on five primary questions…
  • Question #1: Why do environmental problems occur?
  • Examples: Why is the Gulf and South Atlantic red snapper in danger?
  • Why does pollution occur?
  • Why is fresh water so scarce?
  • Question #2: How much pollution is too much?
  • How clean should we make the Stones River?
  • Should we tighten CAFÉ standards?
  • Should we save the gray bat?
  • Can air pollution be eliminated?
  • China air pollution: https://twitter.com/beijingair
  • http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=china+air+quality&qpvt=china+air+quality&FORM=IGRE
  • Gray Bat (Myotis grisescens) Question #3: Are we running out of natural resources?
  • What does it mean to talk about “running out” of a natural resource like petroleum or copper?
  • Have we been running out? Will we run out?
  • How much will be left for future generations?
  • Question #4: How do we deal with climate change?
  • Why has the U.S. drastically cut SO2 emissions, but done little about CO2 emissions?
  • Why have nations been slow to respond?
  • Question #5: What can we do about pollution and excessive resource use?
  • If market failure is the problem, can market incentives be a solution?
  • What can be done about intergenerational resource usage?
  • Do we have examples of successful use of market incentives to reduce pollution?
  • Recent Related Stories in the NY Times
  • As California’s Drought Deepens, a Sense of Dread Grows (Jan 17 2014)
  • If You Think China’s Air Is Bad ... (Nov 17 2014)
  • U.N. Says Lag in Confronting Climate Woes Will Be Costly (Jan 16 2014)
  • Japan’s Delicate Search for a Way to Breed Tuna on an Industrial Scale (Nov 11 2014)
  • Officials Back Deep Cuts in Atlantic Cod Harvest to Save Industry (Jan 30 2013)
  • Readings
  • Text: Stephen Smith, Environmental Economics: A Very Short Introduction.
  • Articles and readings: posted on D2L.
  • Class notes: posted on D2L. Don’t use Microsoft Explorer; use Chrome or Firefox instead.
  • $11.95 at AmazonGrading
  • Two exams
  • Monday February 24
  • Monday April 7
  • Attendance
  • Assignments, some using Excel
  • Final Exam (non comprehensive)
  • Monday May 5 3:30-5:30
  • Last day of class – Wednesday April 30
  • Topics Today
  • Course introduction
  • Assignment for Monday
  • D2L: class notes on externalities
  • Be prepared to discuss
  • Introduction
  • The objective for this course is not to pick sides in environmental disputes.
  • The objective here is to provide you with a rigorous framework with which to evaluate environmental issues.
  • How Do Economists Think About the Environment?
  • Economists do not believe that the free market solves all problems.
  • Examples:
  • The market fails to allocate pollution efficiently.
  • The market fails to conserve wildlife efficiently.
  • Environmental economics is interested in understanding the conditions of ‘market failure’.
  • How Do Economists Think About the Environment?
  • Some environmental problems (though not all) can be addressed by the creation of new markets.
  • Examples:
  • Alter market prices to correct market failure.
  • Trading pollution permits.
  • Many environmental problems are not adequately addressed with market solutions.
  • How Do Economists Think About the Environment?
  • Economic value encompasses more than just goods traded in a marketplace.
  • Examples:
  • An endangered species may have economic value even if nobody uses it.
  • The Amazon rainforest may have economic value to people who never visit.
  • Economics is concerned with valuing these ‘non-market’ goods.
  • How Do Economists Think About the Environment?
  • Using the environment in a certain way often precludes using it in some other way.
  • Examples:
  • Preserving habitat precludes using land for other uses, such as for homes.
  • Constructing a dam for power may eliminate fish migrations.
  • Economists are most concerned with identifying and evaluating tradeoffs.
  • The Focus of this Course
  • The use of real-world case studies is meant to develop your economic intuition.
  • I want you to be able to understand and recognize economic issues related to natural resources and the environment.
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