ECONOMICS 255 – Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (2013)

Economics 255: Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

Winter 2013
Instructor: Jim Casey
Contact Info: 214 Holekamp Hall, Ext. 8102, Email: Caseyj
Prerequisite: Economics 101

Office Hours: MWF, 8:30-9:30 and 11:10-11:50 and 2:00-2:45


Contents:
(1) Course Objectives
(2) Readings
(3) Requirements and Grading
(4) Course Outline

(1) Course Objectives:
 The course is an introduction to both environmental and natural resource economics.  Throughout the semester we will see how economic principles can be and are being used in public and private decision making involving the management and use of environmental and natural resources.  Aspects pertaining to fisheries, forests, species diversity, agriculture, solid waste and various economic policies to reduce air, water and toxic pollution will be discussed. We will spend a significant amount of time looking at the relationship between energy acquisition and global climate change.  The lectures, reading assignments, discussions and papers will be directed at using microeconomic analysis for dealing with environmental and natural resource problems.

By the end of the semester, (1) you should be able to analyze current environmental and natural resource management issues using basic economic models.  (2) You should be familiar with the concept of market failure and (3) how non-market valuation techniques are used to value environmental and natural resources.  Lastly,    (4) you should be comfortable using economic analysis to explain policy interventions aimed at reducing environmental externalities.

(2) Readings:
Kahn, James R.  The Economic Approach to Environmental and Natural Resources, Thomson-Southwest, Third Edition 2005.
Selected articles    (online)

(3) Grading:
(1) Class Participation:                          10%
(2) Weekly Quizzes (10):                      20%
(3) Blog Assignments:                           10%
(4) Exam 1:                                            30%
(5) Exam 2:                                           30%

(1)   You will be expected to come to class prepared to discuss the day’s topics and to ask questions if you have them.   If you do not have any questions pertaining to the assigned reading, I will assume you understand the material and move on to the next topic.  Additionally, if you do not ask questions in class – you will not be permitted to ask questions during office hours.  Office hours are for clarifying material already discussed in class.
(2)  We will have a quiz every Thursday at the beginning of class.  The quiz will consist of one or two questions from material that was covered in class on Tuesday.  If you miss class on Thursday, you will NOT be allowed to make up the quiz. .  I will drop your two lowest scores.
(3)    I will post numerous articles during the week and you are expected to comment on one of them each week.  http://jollygreengeneral.typepad.com/
https://twitter.com/#!/JGGeneral
(4)   We will have an hour exam at the end of week 7 covering the material from sections I and II.
(5)   We will have an hour exam during exam week covering the material from sections III and IV

Classroom conduct: As a courtesy to your classmates, please turn off all cellphones, pagers, and laptop computers at the start of class.  Also, use the restroom before class and do not get up during class to leave the room. If you are having an emergency then please raise your hand and I will certainly dismiss you from class.

Other Blogs to Read
http://www.env-econ.net/ , http://e360.yale.edu/http://www.robertstavinsblog.org/

(4) Course Outline:

  1. Theory and Tools of Environmental and Resource Economics

    WEEK 1:
    Tuesday, Jan 8:    Introduction and Kahn ch. 1

    Thursday, Jan 10: Kahn ch. 2
    http://web.mit.edu/krugman/www/green.html
    http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/rstavins/Forum/Column_3.pdf
    http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/rstavins/Forum/Column_2.pdf
    http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/rstavins/Forum/Column_1.pdf
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/25/business/25view.html
    WEEK 2:
    Tuesday, Jan 15:  Kahn ch. 3 –

    Thursday, Jan 17: The Tragedy of the Commons   and
    Conservation Reconsidered – http://www.rff.org/rff/Events/upload/29660_1.pdf

    WEEK 3
    Tuesday, Jan 22: Kahn ch. 4

    Thursday, Jan 24: Kahn chs. 5 and 6

  2. Energy and climate change

    WEEK 4: Introduction
    Tuesday, Jan 29: Kahn ch. 8

    Thursday, Jan 31: Kahn ch. 9 and ch. 7
    http://globalchange.gov/images/cir/pdf/20page-highlights-brochure.pdf
    TADCOM REVIEW and Leveling Appalachia

    WEEK 5:    Foundations

    Tuesday, Feb.5:ENERGY
    http://www.rff.org/RFF/Documents/RFF-IB-04-01.pdf
    http://www.rff.org/RFF/Documents/RFF-IB%2006-02.pdf

    AIR POLLUTION
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/308/5723/804.full.pdf?sid=dc396739-1fcb-42da-a60a-57f8500b36ff

    CLIMATE CHANGE
    Back to the Future: The Great Climate Experiment
    http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/305/5686/932.full.pdf?sid=bdf5f236-65d0-4674-9392-5d816aa2fd59

    Thursday, Feb 7:
    http://schraglab.unix.fas.harvard.edu/publications/CV86.pdf
    http://harvardmag.com/pdf/2006/05-pdfs/0506-40.pdf

    WEEK 6: Economics

    Tuesday, Feb 12:
    http://bostonreview.net/BR32.1/stern.php

    Thursday, Feb 14:    CLASS CANCELLED FOR OPEN HEARING

    WEEK 7: Policy

    Tuesday, Feb 26:
    RFFClimate

    Thursday, Feb 28 –
    Stabilization Wedges
    http://www.rff.org/rff/documents/rff-dp-08-26.pdf

    Hydrogen Fuel Cells

    WEEK 8: Policy

    Tuesday, March 5: Is Shale Gas Good for Climate Change and Full Cost Accounting for the Life Cycle of Coal

    Thursday, March 7: Turn Down the Heat and Building a Green Economy

    Take home exam will be sent out Friday morning and will be due by Monday at 5pm

  3. Renewable Resources and Agriculture:

WEEK 9: Forests, Agriculture and Biodiversity
Tuesday, March 12: Kahn chs. 12 and 13
Wednesday, March 13: Guest Lecture 8pm location TBA
Thursday, March 14: Kahn chs. 14 and 17

WEEK 10: Water and Fisheries
Monday, March 18: Guest Lecture 8pm location TBA
Tuesday, March 19: Kahn chs. 11 and 15
Thursday, March 21: NO CLASS – UNCW Conference

WEEK 11
Tuesday, March 26: TBA
Thursday, March 28: TBA

WEEK 12
Tuesday, April 2:  Welcome to the Anthropocene
Thursday, April 4:   Review for final exam