Choose one environmental problem related to pollution that is relevant in the region or country where you live, or in a location that is familiar to you. Critically address the following four sets of issues:
(a) Describe the environmental problem in a form of essay you have selected and critically assess its relevance in economic terms, providing a relevant quantitative and qualitative assessment of the scale and severity of the problem.
(b) Describe the types of actors involved, the incentives behind the polluting behaviour, the level and type of harm occurring and any appropriate sanctions (either existing or relevant).
(c) Outline the main policy instruments the country is (or could be) using to address this environmental issue. Evaluate these policies using appropriate policy evaluation criteria and summarize the advantages and disadvantages of the considered instruments. Critically assess the extent to which the current (or proposed) approach employs combined or hybrid policy instruments. Support your arguments by explaining how a combined instrument approach could have the potential, in theory, to be more economically efficient than an approach reliant on a single policy tool, such as either price incentives or quantity restrictions alone.
(d) For your chosen pollution problem, comment briefly on the extent to which uncertainty complicates the design and implementation of the current (or proposed) environmental policy or policies. What further recommendations could you make to address this issue and facilitate the policy design and implementation process?
Relevance to module learning outcomes
This assignment draws on Units 1-5 of the Module and related Key Readings, and will enable you to demonstrate progress toward the following Module Learning Outcomes:
• knowledge and critical understanding of the key concepts and methods of environmental economics
• knowledge of the components of environmental policy, criteria for its design and assessment, and critique of these matters
• knowledge of economic theory relating to the choice of instruments for pollution control, including the relative advantages and limitations of policies based on the optimal use and combination of policy instruments.
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