Course: overview and academic guides / syllabi


A)   Introduction

Climate change is the main global environmental problem and one of the main economic and social problems of Humanity. At least in the European Union, citizens’ perception is also in line with scientific conclusions on the seriousness of the problem. According to the latest Eurobarometer survey published in 2019 by the European Commission, 93% of EU citizens believe that climate change is a serious problem and 79% that it is a very serious problem. Compared to the previous Eurobarometer, published in 2017, climate change has overtaken international terrorism as the second most serious problem facing mankind, after poverty, hunger, and lack of drinking water.

On the other hand, climate change is a multidimensional problem, which must be studied from all disciplines of knowledge. However, our curricula do not usually provide a multi- or interdisciplinary understanding of the problem and, although the population perceives it as a very serious problem, there is a notable lack of knowledge about its nature, effects, possible scenarios, policies, and responses to the challenge it poses for Humanity.

B)   Objectives

In view of the shortcomings of our curricula and the lack of knowledge of a large part of the population mentioned in the introduction, the main objective of this course is to provide a multidisciplinary and rigorous view of the problem of climate change. The aim is for students to have a complete university-level vision, rigorously provided by experts in each subject, although adapted to the necessary introductory level given the heterogeneous profile that students will have, as it is generally the case throughout society.

The complete university-level vision of climate change is provided in the second half of the 6-ECTS-credit study program, which is the whole program for the students taking 3 ECTS credits. The students taking 6 ECTS credits will also gain further knowledge of the main issues related to public environmental policies and management in the first half of the course. This part deals with the role of the Public Sector for internalizing environmental externalities through public policies, which is the base of the economic analysis of environmental policies that it is applied in the Economics of Climate Change, covered in the second part of the course. As a result, students will be able to understand the economic justification and effects of environmental public policies, as well as to formulate them, and analyze them.

In addition to the main objectives described in the previous paragraphs, the course has a secondary objective: Providing an enriching “study abroad” experience, with all the benefits of academic, cultural, and personal enrichment that this type of experience provides. This experience is intensified for the students taking 6 ECTS credits because they will have a larger and more diverse set of classmates, since they will share the first part of the course with the students at the Summer School of Economics and Business, and the second part with the students taking only 3 ECTS credits of A Multidisciplinary Approach to Climate Change.