Environmental Policy and Economics

Course Code: POLS 225

Academic Year: 2023-2024

Human decisions, economic behavior and government policies all affect the environment. Our economic system creates environmental degradation yet it can also be harnessed and regulated to provide incentives that improve environmental quality. As an analytic tool environmental economics deals with concepts like efficiency, trade-offs, costs and benefits. It can measure incentives for maintaining damaging behaviors as well as predict the economic desirability of changing them. It is the role of environmental policy to assess the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of any proposed legislation, be it emission caps or carbon taxes. In formulating policy, governments must consider the fairness of policy impacts, the economic incentives for innovation and the enforceability of proposed regulations. Making use of many current Canadian examples, students gain an understanding of this complex part of the environmental equation.