ENVI 387
Economics of Climate Change Spring 2017
Division II Quantative/Formal Reasoning
Cross-listed ECON 522 / ENVI 387 / ECON 387
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This course introduces the economic view of climate change, including both theory and empirical evidence. Given the substantial changes implied by the current stock of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere, we will begin by looking at impacts on agriculture, health, income, and migration in both wealthy and poor countries. Next we will study adaptation, including capital investments and behavioral changes, and insurance. We will examine the sources of climate change, especially electricity generation and transportation, and think about optimal policies. What is the socially optimal amount of climate change? (Probably not zero.) Why have countries had such a hard time agreeing on GHG emissions reductions, and how might we overcome such difficulties? In considering policy, we will employ not only theoretical predictions, but also the growing body of evidence from attempts to regulate GHGs. Examples include China’s pilot cap-and-trade programs, the EU ETS, and the US Clean Power Plan. We will pay particular attention to the political economy of regulation and ways in which policy results have departed from theoretical predictions. Finally, we will discuss the limits of the economic approach to climate change, pointing out questions on which economic theory provides little guidance.
The Class: Type: lecture
Limit: 30
Expected: 25
Class#: 3111
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly problem sets, one or two midterms, final exam
Prerequisites: ECON 251, familiarity with statistics
Enrollment Preferences: senior Economic majors and CDE fellows
Distributions: Division II Quantative/Formal Reasoning
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ECON 522 Division II ENVI 387 Division II ECON 387 Division II
Attributes: ENVI Environmental Policy
ENVP PTL Theory/Method Courses
ENVP PE-A Group Electives
ENVP PTL-A Group Electives
ENVP SC-A Group Electives
MAST Interdepartmental Electives
POEC Comparative POEC/Public Policy Courses

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