ECON 240 - Issues in Environmental Economics (GT-SS1)

  • 3 credits

Note: This course is usually offered Summer and Fall.

Discussion and economic analysis of current environmental issues with special emphasis on the impact of economic growth.

Economics is the study of how society allocates goods and services in a world with scarce resources. Environmental economics uses the principles of economics to understand how environmental resources are currently managed (or how they should be managed) in an economic system based on markets. This discipline tries to identify ways to improve upon market outcomes and to create effective mechanisms to regulate economic activity to better balance economic goals with environmental goals. In this course we explore the tools of environmental economics and then apply these tools to a variety of environmental problems, including oil-spill disasters, acid rain, national parks, water, sustainability, climate change, etc.

Topics covered:

• the role of economics in environmental decision making
• the basics of markets and market failures
• externalities, public goods, and open-access resources
• valuing the benefits of environmental protection
• valuing the costs of environmental protection
• efficiency criteria for evaluating environmental costs
• policy tools (controls, taxes, permits) and their assessment
• applications to particular pollution issues of interest
• economics of renewable resources: fisheries and forests
• economics of growth and the environment: development and sustainability

Throughout the semester the student will:

• learn the basic concepts and tools of environmental economics;
• think critically about current environmental problems using the lens of an environmental economist;
• develop the skills to communicate an environmental economic effectively, through writing and oral presentations.

This course requires the use of electronic proctoring through ProctorU, please see for detailed instructions.  For students requiring accommodations, please contact Resources for Disabled Students; for consideration of exceptions outside the scope of RDS, please contact the University Testing Center

This course meets the All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC) requirements for Social/Behavioral Sciences (Category 3C) and is approved under gtPathways in the content area of Economic or Political Systems (GT-SS1).


Credit not allowed for both ECON 240 and AREC 240.

Important Information

Credit not allowed for both ECON 240 and AREC 240.

Textbooks and Materials

Textbooks and materials can be purchased at the CSU Bookstore unless otherwise indicated.


  • Economics and the Environment, 7th Ed. (2014)
    Goodstein, Eban S. and Polasky, Stephen
    ISBN: 978-1118539729
  • Economics and the Environment E-Text (2014)
    Goodstein, Eban S.
    ISBN: 978-1118805541

Choose paper text or e-text.


Kevin Crofton
Kevin Crofton

Kevin is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Economics at Colorado State University. His fields of study and research are in environmental and regional economics. Prior to attending CSU, Kevin received a B.A. from Albion College in economics and management in 2004. In the past he has taught classes on introductory microeconomics and macroeconomics. He is passionate about sharing his enthusiasm about economics with his students. When not involved in academia, Kevin spends time in the mountains either backpacking or skiing, but even then he is likely still talking to anyone who will listen about rational choices under scarcity.