The aim of this course is to provide students with tools to analyse – in an integrated manner – environmental aspects of economic, social and political development in developed and developing countries at both micro and macro levels. This course will enable students to systematically analyse environmental issues and to cooperate in the planning and decision making process implied by the sustainable development objectives of private and public agents in developed and developing countries.
Program of the course will provide:
• Reinterpretation of development in the light of environmental sustainability. The Evolution of social-economic thought; the industrial revolution (demographic, economic, ecological) and transition processes; new territory-environment relationships, the main environmental complaints, the paradigm of sustainable development.
• The emergence of environmental issues and the development of international policies for the environment. Not renewable and renewable resources; social supply and demand of the environment; the fallacies of the market and the principle "polluter pays"; global risks; the ecosystemic approach to economic organization; social tools to guide the environmental impact of production activities; assessment and environmental accounting.
• The great political and environmental issues. Energy resources and energy policies; air quality: the Montreal Protocol and the "hole" in the ozone, the Kyoto Protocol, climate change and emissions trading, and local quality indicators; water resources: physical, economic and political characteristics; biodiversity and GMOs; waste production, management, policies.
• Globalization and environmental governance. Environment and poverty, the risks of unsustainable social and environmental-related gaps in international development, international trade and the environment, the role of the WTO and the World Bank, global tourism; territorial levels of governance and sustainable development.
• Sustainability as an opportunity. The green economy and green technologies. Individuals, firms and institution of the green economy. The existing businesses and the real projects of a sustainable economy. The Geography of opportunity within developed and developing countries.
The main prerequisites for the course are: fundamental knowledge of the organization at various geopolitical scales (region, country); ability to describe in proper technical language the main economic phenomena; knowledge of the characteristics of and the fundamental components of economic-territorial organizations (cities, production, networks). Ideally students should have completed at least one exam in economics and one exam in economic geography.
Classes will be held in form of traditional lectures. Handouts and other materials will be distributed in class.
As much as possible, it will be ask to the students an active partecipation, with discussion in small group.
Attendant students will be asked to prepare a small research on a topic and a presentation in the classroom within a small group of students.
It is possible to have in class some guest speakers from abroad.
In addition to the materials on moodle, students not attending the course are requested to study the following text:
Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Penguin, 2005
Type of Assessment
The student assessment comes from
20%: personal project on a topic selected by the student.
Exam (80%): the exam will be written and it will be at the end of the course. No midterm exam are scheduled during the quarter. The written exam will be with multiple choises (24 questions). Every right answer is 1,5 points, every wrong answer -0,5.
Personal project (20%): for the personal project every student needs to spend al least 20 hours. Possible topics include all those faced during the course that the student wants to study in depth. The topic of the personal project needs to be accepted by the professor.
Extra credit: Every student can earn a limited amount of extra credit by super-sizing his personal project.
In addition to the list of topics and materials which is MANDATORY to ALL students:
the ATTENDANT STUDENTS are requested to prepare a class presentation on a topic agreed with the professor.
The NOT ATTENDANT STUDENTS are requested to study the following book which is available for free on moodle:
Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Penguin, 2005 (Available on materials)
List of topics and materials available on moodle. They are MANDATORY to ALL students (attendant and not attendant students).
Topic 1: The classics economics and a critical assessment to the neoclassic economics. Introduction to the Ecological Economics. The Steady State. (Materials: 1. Daly, only pp. 1-24)
Topic 2: The birth and evolution of a new paradigm: the Sustainable Development. Beyond GDP (Materials: 2. Beyond GDP)
Topic 3: To account for sustainability. How to measure the sustainability of economic development? Some selected indicators (Living Planet Index, Ecological Footprint). (Materials: 3. Living Planet Report 2011, pp. 1- 51)
Topic 4: The Population growth. (Materials: 5. The Population bomb revisited).
Topic 5: The transition towards sustainability. An evolutionary approach to the study of sustainability. The Evolutionary Economic Geography (Materials: 6. Evolutionary Economic Geography only pp. 1-20)
Topic 6: the Multi-level Perspective (Materials: 7. Multi-level perspective)
Topic 7: The Kondratiev business cycle (Materials: 8. Kondratieff)
Topic 8: Drivers of transition: individuals, firms and institutions (Materials: 9. Drivers of transition)
Topic 9: Dynamics of social issues (Materials: 10. Dynamics of social issues)
Topic 10: Policies (Materials: 11. Policies)
Topic 11: The environmental issues: the transition in the energy sector (Materials: 12. The energy transition)
Topic 12: Wind energy (Materials: 13. Wind energy)