module specification

EC5052 - Environmental Economics (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Environmental Economics
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Oral Examination 40%   Research essay (2000 words) plus presentation (10 mins)
In-Course Test 60%   In class Test 1.5 hours
Running in 2019/20

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

The module allies economic principles in an investigation of the causes, consequences and possible solutions to problems of environmental degradation. The three major themes in the module are (i) the determination of the optimum levels of environmental resource usage (ii) the analyses of alternative ways of attaining those targets and (iii) the impact of these actions on business decision making. The crucial notion of 'sustainability' is a key investigation. So are the proximate and underlying causes of environmental problems. The main aim of the module is to introduce students to the economists’ way of analysing environmental problems.

Prior learning requirements

Level 4 Principles of Economics or Level 4 Global Business Environment equivalent

Module aims

The module aims to provide students with:

  1. a systematic knowledge and understanding of the principles of environmental economics;
  2. a critical awareness of sustainability debates  both within economics and between economics and other disciplines with respects to environmental degradation brought about by economic activity across the globe;
  3. an ability to participate in policy debates;
  4. an awareness of the impact on businesses of the changing nature of the natural and regulatory environment;
  5. a range of transferable skills and subject-specific knowledge that will be of value to employers.

The module also aims to develop students' skills, in particular: self assessment and reflection; academic study skills; subject research; quantitative analysis; data analysis; problem solving; applied analysis; literacy; academic study skills; critical thinking; self assessment and reflection.


Basic understanding of the problem of sustainable development and limits to growth.
The causes of environmental problems: population, income and wealth; technology; property rights, externalities and market failure.
Determination of the optimum levels of environmental resource usage: the equi-marginal principle.
Evaluation of alternative types of environmental policy instruments: the Coase Theorem; command and control; taxes; subsidies; and tradable permits.
Valuation of environmental resources: total economic value and valuation techniques.
The economics of biodiversity as a case study: evaluation of the complex value of biodiversity and policy responses to the current massive loss of biodiversity.
A bird's eye view on the economics of climate change: balancing the costs and benefits of climate change policies.

Learning and teaching

Students’ learning is organised around direct contact time with the teaching team, and reflective independent learning. The direct contact time takes place through lectures, seminars and group workshops. Students are expected to complement this 'formal' learning activity with further reading of the material suggested in the teaching sessions, solving realistic business problems using economic analysis, research, writing, planning and preparation for group presentations, class tests, and the final exam.

Student contact time will normally be 3 hours per week. Lectures and whole group workshops will typically be around 2 hour duration and will deliver core subject knowledge in environmental economics. As this module emphasises the development of theory, policy and application students will be given environmental problems to resolve each week. This activity will form the basis of the seminar.

The contact time with teaching teams will be organised around a range of learning activities including active learning to acquire knowledge and understanding, problem solving, problem based learning, presentations, analysis of case studies, group reading and analysis of research papers, discussion of policy issues and debate.

Many activities require students to carry out independent work prior to meetings with lecturers. Increasingly through the module students are required to engage with research published in high level academic journals and research institutes.

Professional and transferable skills are developed in lectures and seminars, and through independent directed learning and assessment. Skills development is enhanced through problem solving and problem-based learning practiced in seminars, working co-operatively in groups around tasks that reflect the learning outcomes specified earlier in  the document.

The module makes extensive use of blended learning  through use of virtual learning environment platforms (WebLearn) in which module lecture material, course handbooks, test questions, previous assessment with feedback, and other material is placed.  Other ICT resources include links to key web resources such as Government departments, and research institutes.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a good understanding of the principles of economic analysis and its application in examining environmental problems through an appreciate the economic causes and consequences of environmental degradation brought about by economic activity;
  2. understand and critically evaluate the extent to which market-based mechanisms might provide a solution to the problem of environmental degradation in the absence of overt intervention and the need for, and role of, environmental regulation;
  3. understand, and appreciate, the differences between alternative methods for valuing environmental resources and environmental damages;
  4. appreciate the economic consequences of alternative types of policy instruments for biodiversity conservation.


Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is developed with the aim of testing the module's learning outcomes. Students will be assessed by both formative and summative assessment through coursework and an in-class test. The essay and its presentation, and the class test will assess all learning outcomes and will provide a thorough assessment of students' knowledge of the key issues in contemporary environmental economics and their ability to synthesising and present complex reasoning clearly and concisely.



Collier, P. (2010), The Plundered Planet: How to Reconcile Prosperity with Nature, Allen Lane.
Hanley, N., Shogren, J., and White, B. (2001), Introduction to Environmental Economics Oxford University Press
Perman, R., Ma, Y., McGilvray, J. and Common M. (2005), Natural Resource and Environmental   Economics, Third Edition, Pearson Education
Tietenberg, T. and Lewis L. (2009), Environmental and Natural Resource Economics,
8th Edition, Pearson Addison Wesley.
Tietenberg T. and Lewis. L. (2010), Environmental Economics and Policy, 6th edition,
Turner, R.K., Pearce, D.W. and Bateman, I. (1994), Environmental Economics: An Elementary Introduction, Harvester Wheatsheaf.
Urry, J. (2011), Climate Change and Society, Polity.

Carter et al. 2006. “The Stern Review: a dual Critique, Part 1: the Science”, in World Economics 7: 165-198
Glikson, A., 2007. ‘A response to a dual Critique’, World Economics 8: 233-238
Nordhaus, W.D., (1993), ‘Optimal greenhouse-gas reductions and tax policy in the “DICE” model’, American Economics Review 83, 313-317
Hansen, J., L. Nazarenko, R. Ruedy et al. (2005), ‘Earth’s Energy Imbalance: Confirmation and implications’, Science 308, 1431-1435
Stern N., (2006), ‘What is the economics of climate change?, World Economics 7: 1-10.
Toll, R. and Yohe, G. (2006), ‘A review of the Stern Review’, World Economics 7: 233-250