|Course Title||Environmental Economics and Management|
I. Aim of the course
The main goal is to educate a generations of geographers, who are able to describe, study and explain environmental phenomena, but also appreciate the economic values of nature to humans.
II. Role of the course in the overall degree curriculum
The Department of Geography of the Faculty of History and Philology of the Tirana University offers courses for Geography Teachers and experts – Geographers. Geographers can be employed in various institutions dealing with environmental problems, territory adjustment and space planning, urban planning, tourist agencies as well as in the central and local government offices. Considering their existing curricula and their future possibilities for employment as described above, it was recently decided that we start a new course in Environmental Economics and Management. This course will further complete their environmental knowledge acquired through Geomorphology, climatology, hydrography, pedo-geography, bio-geography, economics of natural resources, geography of territory degradation and dezertification, environmental geography, GIS, basics of business management and economics etc.
III. METHODS USED
Lecturing, common discussions, case studies, film display (video-cassettes with environmental programs), papers to be handled before the end of the semester. These methods are expected to help students better and easily understand the issues covered by the course and involve them in in-depth discussions, which get inspired by realities reflected in the specific case – studies.
IV. COURSE CONTENT
1. Main environmental problems of nowadays (2hrs)
This chapter aims at introducing students to the main environmental problems of nowadays. The focus will be on different geographic areas and main habitats: the water environment, its biodiversity and wildlife, watershed degradation and soil erosion, flood and agricultural output, wetlands, urban and industrial concentrations, greenhouse effect, thinning of ozone layer, acid rains. Discussion will follow with the acute environmental problems of the country: urban waste, air pollution from increased transport in urban areas, drinking water pollution, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, overpopulation of main urban areas.
2. Environment and development (2 hrs)
This chapter will focus on the bilateral relationship of environment-development. It will describe the role of the environment in human society development and wellbeing as well as the impact of human activities on the environment. The rising contradiction of economy-environment will also be part of the discussion. A new concept of wellbeing will be explained, which is strongly connected to the environmental quality. Different definitions and comparisons between growth, sustainable growth, development and sustainable development will follow. Reference will be made to different sources of contemporary literature. Discussions of national case studies will help students understand the sustainability level in their country.
3. Externality and pollution (2hrs)
The concept of externality is almost completely new to students of this department. Therefore, emphasis will be given to the concept itself and the optimal externality by referring to different definitions and case studies, which help understand its meaning. Reference will be made to different types of externalities and their originating factors.
4. Market model, environmental cost and optimal pollution(1 hr)
This chapter will explain the current market failures with regard to environmental considerations. Definitions will be given to private cost and social cost of goods and commodities by referring to the typical demand and supply curves. The goal is to explain how internalisation of externalities will result in the higher social cost as well as higher prices of commodities, by stimulating a more rational use of environment and its resources. Subchapters on the optimal Pigovian tax, pollution charges, property rights and abatement costs will follow.
5. Environmental policies and the respective instruments (2hrs)
The chapter will deal with environmental policies to be applied in different fields under the specific circumstances and time limits including the preventive, reactive and delay policy. A general explanation will be given to the regulatory and communicative instruments as policy instruments. Special focus will be given to the Polluter Pays Principle and the economic instruments applied on this purpose: taxes, charges, subsidies, marketable permits for pollution, deposit refund system. Reference will be made to the application of these instruments in the EU countries, CEE and NIS countries and Albania.
6. Economic valuation of environment (2hrs)
This chapter will explain the need and role for economic valuation of environment in decision-making. It will show that natural resources and the environment are not worthless and infinite goods. Students will be introduced to the concept of total economic value, as well as the compounding ones: use values, non-use values, option value, existence value etc. A case study from one of the main national wetlands. The chapter will also deal with the techniques of economic valuation, such as the contingency valuation method, travel cost method, Hedonic price method, willingness to pay and willingness to accept, human capital method etc.
7. Waste minimization– indispensable for the sound environmental management (1hr)
Due to technological failure and lack of awareness, waste is a growing environmental problem nowadays. Still, it constitutes an additional source of input, which can be recycled/reused/recovered/reduced in the production process by reducing the negative environmental impact and creating new values. The chapter aims at clarifying the current concepts on waste, waste minimization and clean technology.
8. Environmental Impact Assessment (1hr)
Environmental Impact Assessment is an integral part of the project life cycle. This will be the first contact students have with this new concept. The chapter will concentrate on issues such as the definition, phases referring to the World Bank procedures as a main International Financial Institution supporting a number of development and environmental projects in the country. Classification of projects with regard to the need for an EIA according to the World Bank and national legislation procedures will follow.
Different papers in scientifically known magazines