THE UNIVERSITY of EDINBURGH

DEGREE REGULATIONS & PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 2021/2022

Information in the Degree Programme Tables may still be subject to change in response to Covid-19

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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 main insights provided by the economics discipline into climate change mitigation, adaptation, and management.
Course description This course examines the key issues of climate economics, and the tools that economists developed to interpret and address these issues.

It starts with an introductory overview of the rationale of economics, environmental economics, and ecological economics, with a brief mention of behavioural economics as well. It then delves into economics by introducing how markets work and how a well-functioning market mechanism can allocate resources efficiently.

The course then moves to environmental economics by considering market failures that have an effect on the environment. This includes the view of anthropogenic climate change as a global externality and the discussion of various policy instruments aimed at addressing this market failure and mitigating climate change (e.g., carbon taxation, cap & trade). This leads then to studying and comparing the tools used to make an economic evaluation of climate change┬┐prices from emission trading, emission abatement costs, social cost of carbon.

Then, the topic of uncertainty in economic knowledge is introduced, with the study of debates around the challenges of forecasting, uncertainty, risk, irreversibility, and discounting. This leads to the consideration of how some behavioural economics topics relate to the environment.

Finally, the course concludes by opening up discussions beyond mainstream economic thinking to explore alternative economic systems and perspectives, with particular attention to ecological economics ideas.

Some questions which will be considered in the course:
- How do we understand the interactions between economy, society, and the environment?
- What are the best economic policy measures for responding to climate change?
- What are the costs associated with climate change?
- How do we cope with uncertainty in our economic knowledge?
- How can our understandings of human behaviour encourage a more low-carbon behaviour and a more climate change-aware decision making in individuals, households, major companies, and states?
- What is the role of economic concepts and tools in addressing climate change? Can and/or should this role change, and how?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Co-requisites
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 2021/22, 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 Thursday, week 6
Essay (60%) - due Thursday, week 12
Feedback Formative feedback: There will be four types of formative feedback:

(a) Half-way through the course, each student will be invited to a non-mandatory meeting with the CO to discuss their comprehension of the course materials and concepts. Depending on the outcomes of these meetings, the CO might alter the second half of the course (e.g., by providing further explanations on topics of the first half, or by using a different approach). Students will also be encouraged to contact the CO during office hours to get extra feedback/support if/when it is needed, without having to wait for the half-way meeting.

(b) Some classes will include questions or instant mini-quizzes (with answers) where students can autonomously assess whether they have understood the content or not. Students will not be required to submit their answers or the results of these quizzes, but they will be welcome to ask for clarifications about them during tutorials or office hours.

(c) There will be weekly tutorials that will include questions and discussions in which students can get feedback on their answers. Attending the tutorials and engaging with the conversations will be strongly encouraged, but not mandatory.

(d) Students will be encouraged to share with the CO and the tutors a summary of the topic and argument they intend to develop in the Policy Brief (midterm assignment) and in the Essay (final assignment). Formative feedback will be provided on these summaries, aimed at helping students prepare their assignments. This feedback will in most cases be provided via email, and students who receive very critical feedback will be encouraged to have a meeting with the CO and/or the tutors. Sharing these summaries with the CO and the tutors to get feedback will be encouraged, but not mandatory.

Summative feedback will be provided on the first assignment (Policy Brief with questions) and on the second assignment (Essay with questions).
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 concepts and theories relevant to carbon management and climate change policy making.
  2. Understand and critically debate choice of particular values of key variables and methodological approaches to performing economic analyses of climate change mitigation.
  3. Debate the pros and cons of a range of policy instruments at various scales, such as taxes and tradable permits and international environmental agreements, from an economics perspective.
  4. 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: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/Executive_Summary.pdf

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: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg3/ar4-wg3-chapter2.pdf

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: http://www.dieterhelm.co.uk/sites/default/files/Why_so_little_08.pdf
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
Contacts
Course organiserMs Alice Damiano
Tel:
Email: Alice.Damiano@ed.ac.uk
Course secretaryMs Heather Penman
Tel: (0131 6)50
Email: heather.penman@ed.ac.uk
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