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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Carbon Economics (online) (PGGE11219)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is an introduction to carbon economics for non-economists. The primary aim is to provide students with a well-grounded understanding of the important insights provided by economic analysis into climate change mitigation, adaptation and management.
Course description This course examines the key issues of climate economics, and the tools that economists use to enhance understanding of these issues. It starts with an introductory overview of markets, considering how a well - functioning market mechanism can allocate resources efficiently. It then turns to a consideration of market failures, viewing an thropogenic climate change as a global externality, and the pros and cons of various policy instruments (e.g. carbon taxation and cap & trade) aimed at addressing this market failure and mitigating climate change. Attention then turns to the global dimension, exploring how game theoretic analysis can help to give insights into the difficulties of reaching effective global agreement on climate change mitigation. The course then explores the time dimension considering, inter alia, time discounting and the controversies surrounding the appropriate discount rate to use in the context of climate change, and the widely, but often loosely, used concept of sustainability. The course concludes by considering how irreversibility and uncertainty affect decisions about the timing and nature of investment in climate change mitigation.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This course is only available to students studying the online Certificate in Carbon Innovation or the online MSc in Carbon Management. Students are not permitted to audit this course unless formally agreed with the course organiser.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Online Activities 40, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 156 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework 100%

Policy Brief: 40% - due Sunday, week 5.
Position Paper: 60% - due Sunday, week 12.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Distinguish between and critically evaluate the main economic models and theories relevant to carbon management.
  2. Justify choice of particular values of key variables and methodological approach to performing analyses of climate change mitigation.
  3. Debate the pros and cons of instruments such as taxes and tradable permits relevant to reducing carbon.
  4. Engage in meaningful discussion of the difficulty in reaching effective international environmental agreements from an economics perspective.
  5. Synthesise the key economic issues of carbon management and communicate with non-economist stakeholders.
Learning Resources
Stern, N. (2006). Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change. Executive Summary. Available at:

IPCC (2007). Chapter 2: Framing Issues. In: Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Available at:

Helm, D. (2008). Climate-change policy: Why has so little been achieved? Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 24(2), 211-238. doi:10.1093/oxrep/grn01. Available at:
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course deepens and develops analytical skills and skills of synthesis and communication.
KeywordsCarbon Economics,Cap & Trade,Carbon Tax,Game Theory,Market Failure,Resource Efficiency,Global
Course organiserDr Frances Cossar
Course secretaryMs Heather Penman
Tel: (0131 6)50
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