In May 2021, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed the Climate Commitment Act into Law. That Act caps greenhouse gas emissions in the state, requires large emitters to purchase allowances for the amount they emit, and uses the revenues from those quarterly auctions to benefit those communities already overburdened by air pollution. In essence, Washington has put a price on carbon emissions. On January 9, 2023, the Council on Environmental Quality published revised guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessments to calculate the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions (SC-GHG) of alternatives to help in the evaluation of the proposed alternatives. These two examples underscore the importance of understanding economic concepts that are become increasingly common in environmental decision-making and policy.
In this course students will examine the concept of externalities, the polluter pays principle, the role of property rights, and pieces of legislation affecting environmental valuation in the United States. They will come understand those concepts and learn how to calculate things like marginal costs, net present value, and willingness to pay. Unfortunately, economics can’t capture every critical aspect of our natural and social environments. What do we need to supplement economic analyses? The final project will give explore these ideas and more using real-life examples.
CLASS SCHEDULE: Wednesday nights, 6pm-10pm
It will be offered using a hybrid format, with lectures being broadcast and seminars occurring in real time using Zoom.