Academic year
2023/2024 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LM5710 (AF:459577 AR:253590)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
This course will introduce the major global challenges of our time, with a focus on sustainability, sustainable development, and climate change, the challenge that more than anything else requires global actions and a global change. The course is targeted at students who are not specialists in economics, but the economic approach to global challenges will be introduced and used throughout the course. Students will understand why the environment is an economic resource and why economic tools and concepts can help to achieve a better management of environmental resources and facilitate the transition towards a more sustainable future. Students will learn how to frame sustainability within the boundaries set by the planetary ecological ceilings and the basic social needs. They will learn why and how environmental policies can move the society and the economy towards a more sustainable path. Case studies and examples will be used to illustrate the types of policies that can be used at national and international level, and how national and sub-national interests can affect the ability to put these policies into practice. Climate change will be explored in more detail as an example of an international environmental problem. What will try to achieve by the end of the course is how to align global change with sustainability.
Students will learn how to conduct research of data and of sources to examine, measure and monitor sustainability and climate change policies. They will acquire the ability to apply their knowledge to critically evaluate environmental issues from an economic viewpoint and the related policies. These skills will be acquired through frontal lectures and group discussions.

Understanding of global change, sustainability, and climate change
Understanding of the economic dimension of environmental problems and of climate change
Understanding of how different dimensions of sustainability interact
Understanding of how sustainability can be measured and monitored
Basic knowledge of different how environmental policies can be measured and monitored
Basic knowledge of the history of environmental policy
Basic knowledge of the methods to give monetary values to the environment and natural resources
None. The course is targeted at students who are not specialists in economics.
The first part of the course will present a critical discussion of the major global challenges calling for global actions. It will discuss questions such as: How did we became a force of nature? What are the links between the economy and the environment? What are the approaches to sustainability? Why climate change is receiving so much attention?
The second part of the course will introduce the basic theory of the economic approaches to global challenges and actions. It will review the history of environmental and climate change economics. It will explain why global challenges are often global public goods calling for international coordination and policy actions.
The third part will explain the policy instruments available to address global challenges and will review the historical development of major international environmental agreements.
The course will end with evidence from the EU climate policy making.
The course will include 1 lab (climate policy lab) and 3 hands-on sessions aimed at familiarizing students with some basic data analysis using excel and R. These sessions are called Doing economics:
1. Measuring climate change
2. Measuring wellbeing
3. Measuring inequality
Barrett Scott (2001). Environment & Statecraft. The strategy of environmental treaty-making. Oxford University Press, selected chapters. Available at BEC.

Barrett, Scott (2007). Why cooperate? The incentive to supply global public goods. Oxford university press. Available at BEC.

The Core Team. The Economy. Chapters 4, 12, 20. Freely available at

The Core Team. ECONOMY, SOCIETY, AND PUBLIC POLICY. Chapters 2, 4. Freely available at

Additional lectures are indicated in the extended syllabus available in moodle.

Optional readings
Ponthieu, E. The Climate crisis, democracy, and governance. Chapter 2, 3, 4.
Delbeke J., P. Vis EU Climate Policy Explained.
Written and oral. Students will write a short essay on a topic they will choose within a list of selected themes. Students will also present their essay.
Frontal lecture, group discussion.
Moodle will be the main tool of communication for the course. All students are encouraged to sign in.
written and oral
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 12/04/2023