MSc in Energy Law, Business, Regulation and Policy > Energy and Environmental Policy

Energy and Environmental Policy

Teaching hours and credit allocation: 30 hours, 6 credits
Course assessment: coursework + exam


The aim of this course is to propose an investigation of some key energy and environmental problems from the point of view of political economics. In particular, the course deepens the connection between energy, environment, income and population. Making use of an interpretative scheme based on the concept of externality, it explores the phenomena of environmental damage and the policy instruments used for dealing with them. Topics such as sustainable development, optimal level of pollution, energy and environmental taxes, environmental standards, tradable pollution permits, economic evaluation of externalities, renewable resources, climate change and Kyoto Protocol, environment and international trade are studied. The main objectives of the course can be summarized as follows: a) to study the relationships between energy, environment, income and population; b) to propose an overview of the main policy tools for dealing with environmental externalities and pushing an economic system towards the optimal level of pollution; c) to give the student a logical scheme which allows the interpretation and economic analysis of environmental phenomena; d) to stimulate the student’s critical reflection, his ability to investigate specific topics and to communicate his knowledge.

Learning outcomes

  • On completion of the course students will be able to:
  • understand the different dimensions of the sustainable development concept
  • understand the connections between energy-environment-income and population;
  • critically evaluate the link between economic growth and environmental protection
  • comprehend the relevance of the climate change issue and critically evaluate it
  • analyze the main techniques for evaluating environmental damages and benefits
  • comprehend the demographic and ecological transitions
  • analyze the main steps and key issues of the international climate change negotiations
  • critically evaluate the main policy tools to be used for managing the energy-environment link
  • understand the role of the carbon markets and the EU ETS
  • critically analyze the EU Roadmap 2050
  • understand the main elements and differences of energy and environmental policies of the main world’s countries


  • IPAT and Kaya identity;
  • Environmental Kuznets Curves;
  • Sustainable development;
  • Externalities and optimal level of pollution;
  • Coase Theorem;
  • Pigovian taxes and environmental standards;
  • Pareto and Hicks-Kaldor tests. Social Welfare Function.
  • Tradable environmental permits. EU ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme);
  • The Kyoto Protocol and the international climate change negotiation;
  • The decarbonisation of the economy and the role of renewable energy;
  • The EU, US and China energy and environmental framework;
  • Renewable resources: dynamics and rules of exploitation;
  • Sources, meaning and role of the discount rate.