Postgraduate taught 

Environment & Sustainable Development MSc

Theory And Principles Of Sustainability ECON5032

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: Adam Smith Business School
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

Economic activity takes place within the confines of the environment and it is now increasingly recognised that ecological constraints are starting to make themselves felt. This course explores the history of concerns over carrying capacity and various approaches to its measurement; the concept of sustainability and the relationship this has to the finite nature of our planet; the feasibility and ecological coherence of conventional economic ideas of growth and some of the key insights from the physical sciences, specifically thermodynamics. In addition, it presents some of the formal economic analysis relating to the optimal use / depletion of natural resources and the basic economic theory relating to pollution externalities and the options for regulation. On successful completion of the course, students should be able to identify different categories of resources; appreciate and analyse the implications of a closed thermodynamic system for economic activity; explain the reasons for both historical and current concerns over resource limitations; discuss differing interpretations of the concept of sustainability and recognise the key implications for development; demonstrate an appreciation of the standard economic theory of natural resource economics and its limitations; and comment critically on the feasibility of 'Sustainable Development'.

Timetable

10 weekly lectures of 2 hours each.

Assessment

Coursework: essay (25% of final grade for course)

Examination: two-hour end-of-course examination (75% of final grade for course).

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

a) To explain the background and history of concerns over carrying capacity and examine various approaches to its measurement.

b) To explore how we should interpret the concept of sustainability and the relationship this has to the finite nature of our planet.

c) To examine the feasibility and ecological coherence of conventional economic ideas of growth and to familiarise students with some of the key insights from the physical sciences, specifically thermodynamics.

d) To present some of the formal economic models relating to the optimal use/depletion of natural resources.

e) To demonstrate the basic economic theory relating to pollution externalities and the options for regulation.

f) To provide an opportunity to explore a relevant theme via the essay.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

Students should be able to :

 

a) Identify different categories of resources and analyse the implications of a closed thermodynamic system for economic activity.

b) Explain the reasons for both historical and current concerns over resource limitations.

c) Discuss differing interpretations of the concept of sustainability (eg. strong vs. weak) and recognise the key implications for development.

d) Demonstrate a familiarity with the standard economic theory of natural resource economics and an appreciation of its limitations.

e) Comment critically on the feasibility of 'Sustainable Development'.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.