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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP Environmental Science
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The Economics of Environmental Issues

  • Policy instruments and decision-making come down to tangible factors, intangible factors, public-service functions, and natural capital
  • The Commons is land (or other resources) that is owned publicly, with public access for private use. Unselfish use is required by all parties for The Commons to be a success in the long run. Resource sustainability and maximum profit are two perspectives relating to this concept.
  • Indirect costs (externalities) and direct costs are considered in terms of how to properly utilize a resource over time
  • Natural beauty (landscape aesthetics) can be subjective. Unity, vividness, and variety are three gauges used to assess the monetary value of a place’s natural beauty
  • Value in the future can be hard to calculate
  • Risk-benefit analysis comes in handy when trying to make a decision on which environmental-related issue to tackle
  • Cap and trade, taxes, quotas, and other legal controls are used to limit the amount of resources an individual, company, or corporation can use in a given amount of time

The Economics of Environmental Issues

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Environmental Economics Overview 0:05
    • Policy Instruments
    • Tangible and Intangible Factors
    • Public-Service Functions
  • The Commons 5:16
    • A Common is Land Owned Publicly
    • Tragedy of the Commons
    • Requires Cooperation and Unselfish Behavior to Work
    • Arctic Sea and Most of Antarctica
    • Atmosphere
    • National Parks
  • Resources and Profits 10:12
    • Resource Sustainability
    • Maximum Profit
    • Whale Example
  • Indirect vs. Direct Costs 14:14
    • Indirect Cost
    • Direct Costs
    • The Balancing Act
  • Natural Beauty and Its Cost 17:15
    • Landscape Aesthetics
    • Unity
    • Vividness
    • Variety
  • Value in the Future 20:18
    • 'A Bird in the hand is Worth Two in the Bush'
    • Future Value is Hard to Calculate
    • Rule of Thumb
  • Risk-Benefit Analysis 22:58
    • Riskiness of Present Action is Weighed Against the Benefit of the Action
    • Risk of Death from Various Causes
    • Fixing Air Pollution vs. Increased Ambulance Service
  • Cap, Trade, and Legal Controls 28:15
    • Example
    • Ways to Control Emissions
    • Example: Fisheries