Search result: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2015

Agroecosystem Science Master Information
Majors According
Major in Food and Resource Use Economics
Disciplinary Competences
Environmental and Resource Use Economics
NumberTitleTypeECTSHoursLecturers
701-1653-00LPolicy and Economics of Ecosystem ServicesW+3 credits2GS. Andrade de Sa
AbstractThe course introduces the concept of ecosystem services (ES), their value for society, the causes of their degradation and potential policies to reduce degradation, from an environmental economics perspective. The main focus is thus on policy options for addressing ecosystems' degradation. The strengths and weaknesses of alternative policies are analyzed and illustrated with examples.
ObjectiveThe objective is to draw on insights from environmental economics for explaining human-induced ecosystem change and for assessing the potential of policies and economic incentives as strategies to reduce ecosystem services degradation. Students understand the relevance of environmental economics in application to the sustainable provision of ecosystem services (ES). They can define different categories of ecosystem services and understand underlying sources of market failure that lead to suboptimal human decisions regarding ES provision. They understand the importance of policy choice and policy design. This incorporates both established and newer policy approaches that can be used to address market failure and move towards better outcomes from a societal point of view. They can assess strengths and weaknesses of alternative policy approaches and instruments and understand the basis for selecting among alternative instruments to address ecosystems' degradation. Students have an improved understanding of the political economy underlying the making of environmental policy. They know a variety of real-world applications of different policy approaches related to land use choices and ES in developing and developed countries. Finally, they understand approaches for assessing policy impacts.
ContentThe Millennium Ecosystem Assessment found that 60% of the world's ecosystem services (ES) are being degraded or used unsustainably. The UN report on 'The Economics of Ecosystems Services and Biodiversity' highlighted the impacts on human well-being and the role of policy in addressing ecosystems' degradation. Evaluating changes in ES from a societal perspective first requires an assessment of the societal value of different ES and the tradeoffs between them. Second, we need to understand the drivers of human decision-making affecting ES. Examples will be provided on resource use choices in developed and developing countries. Third, an assessment of the causes of excessive ES degradation is needed. Potential causes include the presence of externalities, improperly designed property rights systems, divergence of private and social discount rates, and lack of information and knowledge. Understanding the causes helps to design policies for more sustainable outcomes. Policies include command-and-control, economic incentives (for example, eco-taxes, tradable permits, government payments for ecosystem services), and decentralized approaches (for example, voluntary agreements, eco-labeling, participatory management). Choosing an appropriate policy instrument (or a combination thereof) requires an understanding of the relative strengths and weaknesses of alternative instruments, their preconditions for success and the political economy of their implementation. Finally, assessing the actual impacts of policy once implemented requires a careful assessment of appropriate baselines.
Lecture notesLecture notes, homework exercises and readings for each class will be made available on OLAT.
LiteratureThere is no single textbook for this class. Instead, a number of articles and book chapters will be suggested for each of the topics addressed during the lecture.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course consists of a combination of lectures, homework assignments on real world case studies, a computer exercise, and an exam.
A prerequisite for this course is a bachelor-level course in Environmental Economics (e.g. 751-1551-00). In particular, students are expected to be familiar with basic environmental economics' concepts such as externality, public good, market failure, opportunity cost, social optimum and market equilibrium, among others. Students with no background in environmental economics can be provided with readings but will be expected to come up to the required standards on their own, prior to starting the class. Please contact Dr. Andrade de Sá (saraly.andrade@env.ethz.ch) for these.
851-0594-02LInternational Environmental Politics: Part IIW+4 credits2VT. Bernauer
AbstractThis course focuses on a selected set of important research topics in the area of international environmental politics.
ObjectiveBecome familiar with analytical approaches and research results in selected areas of political science and political economy research on international environmental politics.
ContentThe issues covered include, for example, the relationship between poverty, economic growth and environmental quality, the question whether environmental degradation can lead to political violence (e.g. civil war), the role of environmental regulation in international trade disputes, international negotiating processes in areas such as climate change mitigation, and the role of civil society in global environmental governance.

Prerequisites: If you did not attend the course International Environmental Politics in the autumn semester you can still attend the course International Environmental Politics: Insights from Recent Research in the spring semester. However, I suggest you do so only if you already have a fairly good knowledge of social sciences research on international environmental issues (e.g. if you have already taken one or more classes in environmental economics and/or environmental politics). Alternatively, you can watch the screencasts of the HS 2014 version of the International Environmental Politics course and complete the mandatory reading assignments for that course to acquire the necessary background for being able to keep the pace in the spring semester course: http://www.multimedia.ethz.ch/lectures/gess/2014/autumn/851-0594-00L. Login: with your nethz username and password. You should watch those podcasts and complete the reading assignments before the course starts. The slides and other teaching material for Part One are available at http://www.ib.ethz.ch/teaching (materials, login with your nethz username and password and select the appropriate items).
Lecture notesSlides and reading material will be available at www.ib.ethz.ch (teaching, materials). They are password protected. Your Nethz username and password are needed for login.
LiteratureAssigned reading materials and slides will be available at www.ib.ethz.ch (teaching, materials-login, international environmental politics, part two). Log in with your nethz name and password. Logistical questions concerning access to course materials can be addressed to Thomas Bernauer at thbe0520@ethz.ch. All assigned papers must be read ahead of the respective meeting. Each meeting consists of one part where we discuss the contents of the assigned papers, and another part where we present/discuss new/ongoing research that extends beyond the contents of the read papers. Following the course on the basis of on-line slides and papers alone is not sufficient. Physical presence in the classroom is essential. No podcasts for this course will be available. Many books and journals covering international environmental policy issues can be found at the D-GESS library at the IFW building, Haldeneggsteig 4, B-floor.
Prerequisites / NoticeIf you did not attend 'International Environmental Politics: Part One' you can still attend Part Two. However, I suggest you do so only if you already have a fairly good knowledge of social sciences research on international environmental issues (e.g. if you have already taken one or more classes in environmental economics and/or environmental politics). Alternatively, you can watch the screencasts of the HS 2014 version of Part One and complete the mandatory reading assignments for that course to acquire the necessary background for being able to keep up in Part II: http://www.multimedia.ethz.ch/lectures/gess/2014/autumn/851-0594-00L. Login: with your nethz username and password. You should watch those podcasts and complete the reading assignments before the course starts. The slides and other teaching material for Part One are available at http://www.ib.ethz.ch/teaching (materials, login with your nethz username and password and select the appropriate items).
851-0705-01LEnvironmental Law: Conceptions and FieldsW+3 credits2VC. Jäger, A. Bühler
AbstractOverview of Swiss Environmental Law. Rules and regulations, system and fields of Environmental Law with its principles and instruments, interrelations e.g. with construction and zoning law. Immission control (protection against noise, air pollution), clilmate protection, conservation of water, forest, nature and landscape, regulations on waste and contaminated sites.
Case studies.
ObjectiveBasic understanding of scope and function of Environmental Law. Basic knowledge of legal instruments and of interrelations between Environmental Law and other fields of the law such as planning and zoning law. The students will be able to comprehend all sides of a question and to develop a possible solution of the problem (practical training on case studies).
ContentDie Vorlesung gliedert sich in einzelne Teile und umfasst hauptsächlich folgende Themen: Grundkonzept des schweizerischen Umweltrechts; Rechtsquellen; Grundprinzipien; Instrumente und verfahrensrechtliche Aspekte (v.a. Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung); Querbezüge zum Raumplanungsrecht; Immissionsschutz; Übersicht über einzelne Rechtsgebiete wie Klimaschutz, Gewässerschutz, Natur- und Landschaftsschutz, Wald, Behandlung von Abfällen. Diskussion von konkreten Fällen. Vorgesehen sind zudem zwei Gastreferate von externen Experten.
Lecture notesAls Skript gilt: Heribert Rausch/Arnold Marti/Alain Griffel, Umweltrecht. Ein Lehrbuch, Schulthess Zürich 2004
LiteratureBeatrice Wagner Pfeifer, Umweltrecht I und II, Schulthess Zürich, ab 1999
Klaus A. Vallender/Reto Morell, Umweltrecht, Stämpfli Bern 1997
Prerequisites / NoticeVorausgesetzt werden allgemeine Kenntnisse des Rechts (z.B. Besuch der Vorlesungen «Rechtslehre GZ» im Frühjahrssemester oder «Grundzüge der Rechts» im Herbstsemester)
363-0552-00LEconomic Growth and Resource UseW3 credits2GJ. Daubanes
AbstractThe lecture focuses on the economics of non-renewable resources and deals with the main economic issues regarding such commodities.
ObjectiveThe objective of the lecture is to make students familiar with the main topics in the economics of non-renewable natural resources so that they become able to autonomously read much of the academic literature on the issue. The economics of natural resources adds an intertemporal dimension to the classical static theory. The analyses provided in the lecture will use basic dynamic optimization tools; students are also expected to develop or consolidate their related technical skills.
ContentThe lecture focuses on the economics of non-renewable resources and deals with the main economic issues regarding such commodities. Two peculiarities of natural resources make them interesting economic objects. The intertemporal dimension of resource exploitation is absent in standard static treatments of classical economic theory. The non-renewability of natural resources further implies long-term supply limitations, unlike conventional goods that are indefinitely reproducible. Because of those peculiarities, many well-known economic results do not apply to the case of resources.

As it is appropriate in most chapters, priority will be given to a synthetic partial equilibrium setting. Elementary knowledge of microeconomics (like what is provided by H. Varian, Intermediate Microeconomics) is considered as a prerequisite. Moreover, an introduction to standard partial equilibrium analysis will be provided at the beginning of the lecture. General equilibrium effects should be introduced as they become crucial, as will be the case in the chapters on the interplay between economic growth and resource depletion.

The questions addressed in the lecture will be the following ones:
The intertemporal theory of non-renewable resource supply; the dynamic market equilibrium allocation; the exploration and development of exploitable reserves; the heterogenous quality of resource deposits; pollution and other externalities arising from the use of fossil fuels; the exercise of market power by resource suppliers and market structures; socially optimum extraction patterns and sustainability; the taxation of non-renewable resources; the international strategic dimension of resource taxation; the uncertainty about future reserves and market conditions; economic growth, resource limitations, and the innovation process...
Lecture notesLecture Notes of the course will be sent by email to officially subscribed students.
LiteratureThe main reference of the course is the set of lecture notes; students will also be encouraged to read some influential academic articles dealing with the issues under study.
Prerequisites / NoticeElementary knowledge of microeconomics (like what is provided by H. Varian, Intermediate Microeconomics) is considered as a prerequisite.
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