Economics of the Environment and Climate Change (p)

Course content

The course introduces the economic concepts and methods relevant for analyzing problems and policies relating to the environment and climate change. The course will explain the environmental economic approach to sustainable development and the role that economic instruments can play in protecting the environment and fighting global warming.


Taking the course will prepare students for further advanced studies in the Economics of the Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change at the Master level.


MSc programme in Economics – elective course

Bacheloruddannelsen i økonomi – Prioriteret valgfag på 3. år (angivet med et p) Vedr prioriterede valgfag, se studieordningen.

The Danish BSc programme in Economics - prioritized elective at the 3rd year (symbolized by ‘p’)


Due to similar syllabus it is not allowed to register this course if the following courses has been passed: "Economics of the Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change" (AØKK08382U and AØKA08227U) and "Miljø-, ressource- og klimaøkonomi (AØKK08094U)".


The course is open to:

  • Exchange and Guest students from abroad
  • Credit students from Danish Universities
  • Open University students
Learning outcome

After completing the course the student is expected to be able to:



  • Explain how economic activity depends upon and affects the environment
  • Describe the evolution of the main ideas in the history of enviromental economics
  • Account for the concepts of optimality and sustainable development used in the theory of environmental economics
  • Discuss the main arguments in the debate on environmental limits to growth
  • Describe the main challenges relating to global warming
  • Account for the relevance of the theory of public goods and externalities for environmental and climate economics
  • Describe the main alternative instruments of pollution control and climate policy and the criteria for the choice among them
  • Identify the factors that should guide the choice of pollution control instrument when policy makers have imperfect information
  • Account for how basic concepts from game theory can help to analyze international environmental problems such as global warming
  • Reflect on the arguments and evidence in the debate on the effects of international trade on the environment
  • Explain the alternative methods used to value non-marketed environmental goods and services
  • Discuss the concepts of the “safe minimum standard” and the “precautionary principle” in environmental policy and how these principles arise from fundamental uncertainties and the risk of irreversible environmental damage



  • Explain and present central economic theories and models of the economy-environment nexus in a clear language.
  • Apply the standard mathematical method for static optimization subject to constraints to analyze environmental policy problems such as the determination of the optimal level of pollution abatement and the optimal environmental tax rates.
  • Apply the tools of graphical economic analysis to illustrate typical trade-offs in environmental and climate policy.



  • Carry out a criticial evaluation of the stengths and weaknesses of the theories and models.
  • Present and evaluate key parts of the theory of environmental regulation and discuss the role of the state and the market in the implementation of environmental policy goals.
  • Apply the theoretical and empirical insights from the course in a critical analysis and discussion of important real-world problems and complex issues of environmental and climate policy.

Lectures presenting the relevant theories and evidence.
An active dialogue between the teacher and students during the lectures will be strived for.

Students will be encouraged to work with exercises related to the lectures on a voluntary basis in groups or individually.

The main syllabus of the course consists of selected chapters from the textbook by Roger Perman, Yue Ma, Michael Common, David Maddison, and James Gilvray: Natural Resource and Environmental Economics, 4th edition, Addison Wesley, 2011 (ISBN: 978-0-321-41753-4).

In addition, a few journal articles will be included in the syllabus.


Students should have followed courses corresponding to Microeconomics I, Microeconomics II, Macroeconomics I, Macroeconomics II, Mathematics A and Mathematics B at the Bachelor programme in Economics, University of Copenhagen.

2 hours lectures 1 to 2 times a week from week 6 to 20.

The overall schema for the BA 3rd year and Master courses can be seen at KUnet:
MSc in Economics => "courses and teaching" => "Planning and overview" => "Your timetable"
BA i Økonomi/KA i Økonomi => "Kurser og undervisning" => "Planlægning og overblik" => "Dit skema"

Timetable and venue:
To see the time and location of lectures please press the link under "Timetable"/​"Se skema" at the right side of this page. F means Spring.

You can find the similar information in English at
-Select Department: “2200-Økonomisk Institut” (and wait for respond)
-Select Module:: “2200-F25; [Name of course]””
-Select Report Type: “List – Weekdays”
-Select Period: “Forår/Spring”
Press: “ View Timetable”

Please be aware:
- The schedule of the lectures can change without the participants´ acceptance. If this occure, you can see the new schedule in your personal timetable at KUnet, in the app myUCPH and through the links in the right side of this course description and the link above.
- It is the students´s own responsibility continuously throughout the study to stay informed about their study, their teaching, their schedule, their exams etc. through the curriculum of the study programme, the study pages at KUnet, student messages, the course description, the Digital Exam portal, Absalon, the personal schema at KUnet and myUCPH app etc.



The lecturer gives oral feedback on questions raised by students during the lectures and during the lecturer’s designated office hours.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
On-site written exam, 3 hours under invigilation
Type of assessment details
ITX-exam in the exam venues of the university.
The exam assignment is given in English and must be answered in English.
Exam registration requirements

There are no requirements during the course that the student has to fulfill to be able to sit the exam


No aids allowed at the written ITX-exam.


Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
at the written exam.
The written ITX-exam may be chosen for external assessment by random sample.
An oral re-examination may be with external assessment.
Exam period

Exam information:

The exact time and place will be available in Digital Exam from the middle of the semester. 

More information about examination, rules, aids etc. at Master(UK), Master(DK) and Bachelor(DK).


Oral reexam 20 minutes without preparation time. 

No aids allowed during the examination.

External assessment. 


Reexam information:

More information in Digital Exam in August. 

More info: Master(UK), Master(DK) and Bachelor.

Criteria for exam assessment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the course.


In order to obtain the top grade “12”, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.


In order to obtain the passing grade “02”, the student must in a satisfactory way be able to demonstrate a minimal acceptable level of  the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 161
  • Exam
  • 3
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

- Go to 'Signup' for information about registration and enrollment.

Information about admission and tuition fee:  Master and Exchange Programme, credit students and guest students (Open University)

and venue:
- For teaching: Go to 'Remarks'.
- For exam and re-sits: Go to 'Exam'.
Department of Economics, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Economics
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Frikk Nesje   (11-6b776e707033736a786f6a456a68747333707a336970)

See 'Course Coordinators'.

Please read "Remarks" regarding the schedule of the teaching.

Saved on the 17-05-2024

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students