Environmental Economics: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback | August 29, 2011

byStephen Smith

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If environmental protection is costly, how much should we spend on pollution control? Is it worth reducing pollution to zero, or should we accept some level of pollution because of the economic benefits associated with it? How can we assess the benefits that people get from a less-pollutedatmosphere?In broad terms, environmental economics looks at how economic activity and policy affect the environment in which we live. Some production generates pollution, such as power station emissions causing acid rain and contributing to global warming, but household consumption decisions also affect theenvironment, where more consumption can mean more waste sent to polluting incinerators. However, pollution is not an inevitable consequence of economic activity - environmental policies can require polluting firms to clean up their emissions, and can encourage people to change their behaviour,through environmental taxes on polluting goods, for example. Generally, though, these measures will involve some costs, such as installing pollution control equipment. So there's a trade-off: a cleaner environment, but economic costs. In recent years, many economists have argued for greater use ofincentive in the form of pollution charges and emissions trading rather than more traditional direct regulation of polluters. In this Very Short Introduction, Stephen Smith discusses environmental issues including pollution control, reducing environmental damage, and global climate change policies, answering questions about how we should balance environmental and economic considerations, and what form government policiesshould take. Including many illustrative case studies and examples he shows that this is an exciting field of economics, and one that is at the heart of many public debates and controversies.

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If environmental protection is costly, how much should we spend on pollution control? Is it worth reducing pollution to zero, or should we accept some level of pollution because of the economic benefits associated with it? How can we assess the benefits that people get from a less-pollutedatmosphere?In broad terms, environmental econom...

Stephen Smith is a Professor of Economics at University College London (UCL), and Executive Dean of the UCL Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences. He began his career as a member of the UK Government Economic Service at the Department of Trade and Industry, and then, from 1985 to 1997, worked at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IF...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:168 pages, 6.85 × 4.37 × 0.68 inPublished:August 29, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199583587

ISBN - 13:9780199583584

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The economy and the environment2. The economic theory of efficient pollution control3. Environmental policy: instrument choice4. Economic information and values in environmental policy decisions5. The economics of climate changeFurther ReadingReferencesIndex