ENR-22806 Principles of Climate Change Economics and Policy


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Course coordinator(s)dr. X Zhu
Lecturer(s)dr. X Zhu
dr. ir. CSA van Koppen
dr. M Smits
Examiner(s)dr. ir. CSA van Koppen
dr. X Zhu

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Some knowledge of calculus is required for the economics part.

Continuation courses:

ENP-36306 Climate Governance; ENR-21306 Environmental Economics for Environmental Sciences, YSS-35306 Theories and Models in Economics


The course provides an introduction to the principles of economic and policy aspects of climatic change. From the economics perspective we explain the functioning of the market mechanism and its failure in protecting the environment and various options for climate policies. Specific attention is given to public goods and externalities. The course provides the disciplinary background to understand national and international climate policies and explicitly deals with the costs and benefits of various climate options, both for adaptation and mitigation, and the role of discounting.
From the sociological and policy science perspective we will present basic principles of social and political theory and apply them in explaining actual social dynamics of climate change policy. Key issues that will be highlighted are: structural and cultural approaches to environmental reform, agenda setting and policy making, risk perception, international policy regimes, climate change communication, and citizen behaviour.
This course is not intended for students of the social sciences; they are referred to ENP-36306 Climate Governance.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain the basic principles of environmental economics and policy;
- apply the principles of economics and policy to key issues of climate change, including mitigation and adaptation;
- explain the main regulatory principles of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the tradable permit system, the clean development mechanism (CDM) and joint implementation (JI);
- explain the positions of the various stakeholders in the climate debate, the post-Kyoto negotiations and EU climate change regulation;
- explain the influence of public perception and NGO action on climate change policy, and the influence of climate change communication on public (risk) perception;
- develop and answer a research question in the field of environmental economics and/or environmental policy, based on 5 published scientific articles or book chapters.


The course includes lectures, tutorials and a literature review paper. Students are expected to attend the lectures and prepare by reading the course material of those lectures. Tutorial's will be used to practice with the material discussed in the lectures, or to further discuss selected issues. Students may be asked to prepare for a tutorial by reading a selected scientific article. As regards the literature review paper, students will choose a topic of their interest related to climate change economics or policy.
They will then select five up-to-date journal articles on this topic in order to write a review on the approaches and theories used in the papers, and the conclusions. The review will contain a) a concise description of the contents of each paper and b) a critical own reflection on the contents of the papers and how the papers and their conclusions are related to each other or where they differ or even contradict.


Written examination (50%), a literature review paper (30%) and homework assignment(20%). The written examination and the literature review paper need a minimum mark of 5.5 to pass.


To be announced in the course outline in order to provide up to date literature.

Restricted Optional for: MCLClimate StudiesMSc1AF
Restricted Optional for: WUCLCBSc Minor Climate Change: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Society1AF