Nowhere is this more apparent than in the case of human-induced climate change. Economic analyses must be used to determine the net costs/benefits of different policy scenarios, to better understand how to achieve and sustain international co-operation, and to evaluate the efficiency of different environmental policy instruments.
Environmental economics has been instrumental in informing policy across the world: in market creation (such as for carbon), or the design of new interventions (such as payments for ecosystem services (PES)).
In these, and across a wide range of other issues, from biodiversity and ecosystem loss, air pollution and the link between the environment and sustainable economic development, the theory and applied tools of environmental economics are uniquely placed to inform and guide decision-makers in addressing environmental challenges.
As a world-leading specialist programme, MSc Environmental Economics and Climate Change enables students to develop an important set of skills with practical applications. These include:
- Strong understanding of environmental and resource economics, its conceptual foundations and practical tools of analysis, including state-of-the-art quantitative methods
- Ability to apply economic concepts and quantitative methods to the analysis, appraisal and valuation of a wide range of environmental problems and policies
- Awareness of the importance of context, both from an institutional and policy perspective, when applying the concepts and tools of environmental economics
- In-depth understanding of climate change, including its scientific, economic and political dimensions
The programme is taught and run by one of the largest international groupings of environmental economists in any academic institution. Teaching staff are based within LSE's Department of Geography and Environment and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
Our students describe their experiences of the programme:
Why did you choose the course/LSE?
The MSc in Environmental Economics & Climate Change was the perfect middle point between my economics background and my ecology interests. I chose this programme because it allowed me the flexibility to explore the different dimensions of climate change, including climate science and global environmental negotiations.
What has been the highlight of your LSE experience?
One of the things I was more eager to experience at the LSE was the opportunity to attend lectures with internationally renowned speakers. Throughout the two years of my part-time degree, I sat down to hear Partha Dasgupta, Lord Nicolas Stern, Gavin Schmidt and others.This experience was a valuable complement to the theoretical classes because it helped me understand how I help translate abstract models into actions.
A personal highlight was the screening of the Chasing Coral documentary at the LSE Geography & Environment Department, which I organised to celebrate World Oceans Day 2018!
How are you planning to use your degree for your future career?
The degree has been beneficial already! For the past year, I was able to work with the Rainforest Foundation UK, the UNFCCC and UNEP, which would not have been possible if I was not a member of the LSE community.
Sum up your experience in 3 words:
Challenging, exciting, rewarding
What did you enjoy most about the programme? I must say the excellent lectures as well as the supervision I received for my dissertation. The lectures were carried out in relatively small groups with a lot of personal contact between professors and students. The professors were very approachable and supportive, which was great. We had plenty of opportunities to raise questions and discuss current topics of environmental economics and policy. This made the learning environment a lot more interactive. When I was working on my dissertation, I was encouraged by my supervisor to develop my own research ideas. The process of bringing in my own ideas and then receiving a lot of support in refining them made this undertaking very rewarding.
What are the benefits of studying in London/ at the LSE? At LSE, students receive this incredible opportunity to interact with some of the world’s leading theorists and practitioners. For instance, researchers from the World Bank came to our course and gave lectures about current environmental policies. Aside from the academic offerings at LSE, there are plenty of extracurricular activities that make LSE outstanding. This ranges from public evening lectures with Nobel Prize Winners, events hosted by some of the 200 plus student societies, or if you prefer, a pleasant evening at the “George IV”, the Victorian pub integrated into the LSE campus.
What was your background before studying your MSc? I hold a M.Sc in Economics from University College London and B.Sc. in Economics from Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich.
Has studying at the LSE positively influenced your career or study prospects? After having completed my masters at LSE, I now know for sure that I would like to continue working in the academic field and become a researcher. Studying at LSE has prepared me to become a competent researcher by combining both a comprehensive curriculum in environmental economics with rigorous methodological training. Furthermore, upon conversing with academics within the UK and abroad, I gained the impression that the brand name “LSE” opens many doors in the academic world.
What are you doing now and where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? At the moment, I am applying for PhD programs in environmental economics. Although I am applying to multiple schools across the globe, my first preference for a PhD is at LSE. In the next five years, I want to set the foundation for an academic career which allows me to contribute my own scientific work to alleviating global environmental problems.
What did you enjoy most about the programme? The programme involved studying insights from other disciplines such as the science behind climate change, behavioural insights and theories of political and international cooperation, which I found very interesting. This allowed us to understand the bigger picture and the other dimensions that come into play when asking fundamental questions to climate change and the environment.
Everyone you meet in the programme is highly enthusiastic and passionate about their area of expertise, which creates a very collaborative, diverse and dynamic environment. I particularly enjoyed the encouragement and engagement received from our professors when it came to developing new ideas in independent work such as essays, projects or my dissertation.
We also had the opportunity to go to exclusive conferences and lectures such as the Stern Review +10, which puts you right into the middle of discussions in the “real world” and was one of my highlights.
What are the benefits of studying in London and at the LSE? The unique LSE community as well as the wide range of courses to choose from. These allow you to discover and pursue your interests, no matter how specific or wide-ranging they may be. You can choose from courses within or outside of the department, which all differ in teaching styles, class size and learning outcomes. There is also a great support system in place to assist you. I chose a mix of highly technical courses and applied development courses to pursue my interest in cities, development and their environmental challenges.
For extracurricular, the public events hosted at the LSE or other London institutions give you the opportunity to be part of discussions with leading professionals outside of your chosen discipline and are not an opportunity to be missed!
Has studying at the LSE positively influenced your career or study prospects? Yes, it made me more confident about my career path as well as the opportunities available. I think the programme prepares you well for understanding the different dimensions you could be working in and the related challenges. Lastly, you gain technical skills which are highly sought after in many sectors. LSE also sparked my interest of going into research, which I had not really considered before!
What are you doing now and where do you see yourself in 5 years? I am currently completing an internship with the German development corporation GIZ and I am starting a job in a few weeks with C40, the leading network of cities around the world committed to addressing climate change. The plan is to gain further work experience in this field, although I can also see myself doing a second Master's or a PhD in a few years time.
Current position: Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Development, Economist / Senior Planning Expert
Why did you choose the course/LSE? My personal motivation to work on environmental economics and climate change issues coupled with the interdisciplinary and well-balanced master’s programme at one of the most reputable research universities of the UK in the middle of London, where the world meets.
What was the highlight of your LSE experience? I felt privileged to be a graduate student at one of the most diverse, innovative and groundbreaking universities as a Chevening Scholar.
How has your degree been useful for your career? My master’s degree enhanced my academic knowledge on economic modeling and financing of environmental issues and climate change mitigation. Now, I have been applying this knowledge into a real policy setting of an emerging country in order to provide evidence-based policies and measures for the sustainable growth agenda of Turkey.
Sum up your LSE experience in 3 words: Brainstorming, unique, self-fullfilment
What did you enjoy most about the programme? The innate trait of environmental economics - that it blends different disciplines - was the best part of the programme. The diversity of students from different nations and backgrounds greatly contributed to teaching with their academic knowledge and professional experiences. In a way, the professors and my fellow students together broadened my vision.
What are the benefits of studying in London/ at the LSE? At LSE, I felt like connecting to the business world I was to enter after graduation. LSE, as well as our department, holds many professional fairs and seminars with alumni, King’s, UCL and companies. For me, one year’s programme is not simply about academic study. London provides cultural and business related opportunities that small towns lack.
What was your background before studying your MSc? I obtained a bachelor degree on Environmental Economics and Management right before my master’s program.
Has studying at the LSE positively influenced your career or study prospects? Definitely. I think I got my current internship largely because of my master’s background. Specifically, the experiences and the simulation of EU ETS in GY427 helped me a lot in the interview.
What are you doing now and where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? I have been doing the internship in a carbon trade consulting company called SinoCarbon Innovation & Investment Company in Beijing, China for over a month, and I hope I can pass the final assessment to get employed. I think I will probably, if I get the chance to work with SinoCarbon after the internship, stay with it for the next four or five years, and work on carbon asset and trade consulting and carbon emission verification. I have been busy working for a month on a carbon emission peak project for a city in China. I have learnt a lot this past month, and I think the Chinese government will keep its promise to tackle climate change, at least for the next ten or twenty years. Just like the city project I am working on, many cities in China are sparing funds and effort to contribute to the national goal to achieve carbon emission peak by 2030.
Where are they now?
The continuing rise in the application of economics to environmental policy-making has created increased demand for individuals with state-of-the-art training in environmental, natural resource and climate change economics, and an ability to apply economic tools to the analysis of environmental problems and policy. Our graduates go on to work in a variety of roles in government, international organisations, industry, NGOs, consultancy and research.
The MSc Environmental Economics and Climate Change is invaluable to those preparing for - or already engaged in - a career in a specialised area relating to climate change economics, and more broadly to any aspect of environmental and resource economics.
Our alumni tell us what they did after graduation:
After graduating I began my work experience at Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), an Italian think tank based in Milan that is strongly involved with avantgarde environmental and sustainability research. I was called to join the “Society and Sustainability” Programme and work on a project which studies the importance of high-quality, transparent financial disclosure made by firms to investors on the management of climate-related risks and opportunities. This first job opportunity has meant a lot to me, as the topic of research combined my undergraduate studies in economics and management with my postgraduate degree in environmental economics and climate change.
Fondazione Mattei also gives researchers the chance to exhibit their outputs via internal seminars or workshops with external audiences: in my case, I have been able to organise two of the latter, involving a group leading Italian firms and exchanging with them the results of my research – this implied interacting with heads of sustainability, directors and even CEOs of successful businesses, despite my young age and brief experience.
Indeed, the notions, knowledge, and tools I had previously developed with courses like Environmental Economics, Climate Change Economics and Applied Quantitative Methods have bolstered me throughout this new challenge: knowing the economic and political implications of the Paris Agreement, as well as some of the technicalities behind the scenarios developed by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) or the International Energy Agency (IEA) has been of vital importance in some of my daily tasks at FEEM.
As exciting as the beginning of my working career has been, I have had the chance to apply, and later accept, an offer from Eni (Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi), the leading Oil and Gas company in Italy. As it enters a deep, transitional phase towards a low-carbon future, Eni gives the opportunity to a small group of young individuals to begin a Master’s in the Economics of Energy and the Environment, so to specialise in the energy sector, and eventually work in a reality in which young environmental economists like an EECC alumnus can thrive and contribute to the fullest.
Soon after finishing my dissertation, I joined Carbon Market Watch, an international NGO campaigning for climate policies with positive real-world impacts at local and global levels, with specific expertise on carbon pricing and carbon markets. I work on the international carbon markets negotiations under the UNFCCC, advocating for better safeguards against human rights infringements and better market designs to ensure that international mechanisms to trade carbon credits truly contribute to reducing emissions.
During my time at LSE, I discovered a whole new world of climate policies, focusing on analysing mechanisms which could contribute to solving the climate crisis using economic instruments. Since I graduated, I have dived into the policy scene, giving me a chance to better understand how the theories I learned during the program perform in real life. This has been an eye-opening experience, getting to see the local impacts that international policies can have on people.
In my work, I build on scientific research to communicate with decision makers and promote more climate ambition while protecting local communities. I attend UNFCCC negotiation sessions and closely follow various negotiation processes.
I wrote my dissertation on travellers’ willingness to purchase carbon offsets through a survey-based randomised control trial in a hotel. Today, I continue to be actively working on carbon offsets, albeit with a more critical perspective than during my studies. I recommend the MSc EECC, and would invite anyone following this course to take up the lecturers on their advice: go look beyond the theory of what you are learning and see for yourself what the positive and negative impacts of the policies you will learn about on this course!
Katerina Kimmorley is founding Director of Pollinate Energy a social business that provides solar lights in India’s urban slums and a current PhD student at LSE. She completed her Masters in Environmental Economics and Climate Change (EECC) in its inaugural year, 2012.
“Prior to coming to LSE, I was working in Renewable Energy Policy in Australia saw how all the international benchmark policy was coming out of the UK and LSE academics were having a big part shaping it. I came to LSE because I revered so many of the academics at the Department of Geography & Environment and Grantham Institute. Being taught by them and having access to their input into my evolving ideas and plans was an incredible part of the program.”
As part of the program Katerina used her dissertation as the founding research for a social business Pollinate Energy.
“The dissertation process completely changed the course of my life, being given the licence and support to investigate what you are really passionate about was incredibly liberating. It led me to India to investigate the provision of solar lighting in urban slums where I researched the willingness to pay for these life changing technologies – my research in the field showed me the scale and scope of the problem and armed with knowledge, experience and support to tackle them and cofound Pollinate Energy.”
Coming out of the Masters Katerina discovered that many more doors in her field were open to her.
“The Masters program both helps you distil what area of environmental economics you are most interested and the multitude of work opportunities there are out there to suit your skills and interests - a hugely valuable way to spend a year”.
William Raich is an Associate at Industrial Economics, Inc., a U.S. based environmental and economic consulting firm. He completed his Masters in Environmental Economics and Climate Change in 2013.
“I went into the EECC program with a background in environmental economics and experience working for an environmental regulatory agency (US EPA). The program provided me with a deeper understanding of economic theory, tools to effectively conduct quantitative analyses, and invaluable experience conducting research.
The EECC dissertation process gave me the freedom to pursue a topic I have always been interested in—clean transportation. With one-on-one guidance from my dissertation advisor, I quantitatively estimated the effectiveness of electric vehicle incentives, including tax rebates and sales tax exemptions. At the time of my research, no other paper existed that addressed the effectiveness of these expensive government policies.
The dissertation process gave me valuable—and marketable—experience conducting research. I continued this line of work for two years at Resources for the Future, a DC-based environmental economics think tank, where I was able to co-author research with leading researchers in the field. In September 2016 I accepted a job at Industrial Economics, where I work with clients such as US EPA and US Coast Guard. I can confidently trace these great experiences back to my time in the EECC Masters program.”
I joined the UK Government's Diplomatic Fast Stream Economist scheme in 2012, working first on regional economics South Asia and Afghanistan and then on climate change and energy economic issues. I am now temporarily off economic duty, working as Private Secretary to The Foreign Secretary's Special Representative for Climate Change, Sir David King.
Sir David has been tasked to support FCO objectives on international climate policy. In practise, this means influencing key decision makers in business, policy and civil society to make the transition to a low carbon economy.
As Sir David's Private Secretary, I directly support him in achieving his objectives. This ranges from everything from making sure the diary and his travel schedules run smoothly, to providing him with advice about how to influence policy and meet his objectives. In London, as well as making sure Sir David is fully prepared for his days work, I also meet with key policy makers across Whitehall and other Private Secretary's in Minister's Offices to make sure that David is having maximum influence and impact. It's a high pressured and demanding job with long hours, but small price to pay for the highlights, such as travel (most recently UN Climate Summit) and seeing policy development at the very top.
This position will run through to just after Paris negotiations following which I'll be taking up a diplomatic post overseas, ideally still working in the climate, energy and economics field.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience at LSE and gained a lot from it. My Masters dissertation was based on applying a bargaining framework to the haze issue in South East Asia. Specifically, I simulated a two stage model of negotiation between the stakeholders determining policy instruments.
Having graduated, I am currently an intern at the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. I am working on a project that aims to develop a economic valuation framework for protected areas in the Abu Dhabi. I am also an offshore research assistant at IRENA. There, I contributed to work focusing primarily on creating an environment for the renewable energy in Small Island Developing Countries.
In the future, I hope to do a PhD in environmental and resource economics and am currently applying to programs.
Moritz Drupp is a PhD candidate at the Economics Department of the University of Kiel, Germany. His research focus is on sustainability economics, in particular the evaluation of long-term public policies. Before becoming part of the MSc EECC class of 2013/2014, Moritz was actively engaged with sustainability science in Germany, where he was a member of the Council for Sustainable Development of the University of Tübingen and co-led the student initiative ‘Greening the University’.
“In my Master studies, I wanted to further specialize on topics of sustainable development and environmental economics and have thus found the MSc EECC a perfect match for my interests. I was specifically drawn to the programme as it combines a rigorous approach to environmental economics with studies of the political and natural science spheres of one of the most pressing sustainability problems: climate change.
The MSc provides an excellent overview of the current debate in environmental economics and the good thing is: you will learn most of it during discussions not only with distinguished lecturers, but fellow classmates from all around the globe who add their own distinct perspectives on what needs to be done to make this world a better place. The multitude of such perspectives is especially enriching, as many sustainability problems require global cooperation for their solution. The programme together with LSE’s broader academic environment, including LSE’s public lecture series and seminar workshops at the Department and the Grantham institute, is therefore not only a great option for future practitioners, but can also pave the way for further academic work.
Let me give one example of how the great people in and behind the MSc programme have been instrumental in shaping my current research: Resulting from a discussion in a seminar taught by Dr Ben Groom in the EECC core course Environmental and Resource Economics, I now work together with him and my classmate Frikk Nesje on a project that tries to advance the science and practice of social discounting using surveys of different relevant stakeholders, including economic experts. Besides such ‘spontaneous’ opportunities that could also include being a research assistant at the Grantham institute, the natural starting point for your own research is of course the Dissertation. The flexibility and support given by the staff allows you to address relevant policy questions and attempt to advance the science of environmental economics itself. I can therefore happily recommend the programme to anyone interested in the environmental economic science-policy interface as well as those searching for a programme that introduces them to current topics at the research frontier.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me: http://www.eree.uni-kiel.de/en/team/moritz-drupp
If you decide to attend LSE, during the first dissertation meeting you will be told that the dissertation has the power to influence future opportunities and career paths and I believe that is true.
My EECC dissertation was a stated preference survey which examined Lake Erie basin residents’ willingness to pay for improved water quality in light of harmful algal blooms. I designed my survey online and through engagement with local stakeholder groups and businesses in the Great Lakes region in the U.S., as well as through Amazon Mechanical Turk, I was able to get enough responses to perform an analysis using Stata.
I am now an ORISE fellow working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. I work in the National Center for Environmental Economics, a division comprised of about 30 environmental economists. I am helping design two stated preference surveys which is where my dissertation research comes in very useful! One survey will focus on filling in the data gaps for quantifying health benefits from new regulations. The other survey will be part of a larger effort to estimate willingness to pay for water quality improvements. I’m also currently learning qualitative approaches to incorporate into my own long term research project.
I wish you the best of luck if you decide to attend LSE – make the most of your time as it flies by!
The experience of doing the Masters of Environmental Economics and Climate Change has been an immensely rewarding one. Not only did I gain greater understanding on a wide range of topics surrounding environmental economics and climate change, but also I was able to focus specifically on topics I felt strongly about, specifically conservation, biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development.
My dissertation was based on how a commodity boom and weak institutions led to mangrove deforestation in Ecuador. Doing research within a developing country context about a topic I was very passionate about would prove of great value for my future professional path.
After returning to Ecuador I briefly joined my undergraduate university to teach an introductory class on climate change economics and sustainable development, and then joined the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos as an environmental economist.
My current work at the foundation involves doing an ecosystem services valuation of mangroves in the Galapagos Islands, concentrating on the links to fisheries, carbon sequestration, and tourism. Through this project I am putting to good use all the practical and theoretical tools learnt within the MSc, especially since I took valuation and ecosystem services courses as my electives.
It is a very exciting period to be at the Galapagos marine reserve, since a new zonification process is on-going. Discussions around community management of resources, eco-labelling schemes to divert fishing effort towards sustainable fisheries, or the non-use value of unique deep sea creatures are now everyday topics I am contributing on, sharing different perspectives with ecologists and biologists, who highly value the input from an environmental economics perspective. The depth of the MSc is to thank for that.
Finally, through the MSc I met an amazing group of young motivated professionals from all over the world, in a diverse and multicultural setting. This opportunity has been as enriching in a professional and personal manner as the academic one offered by LSE. The overall experience is one I’m very grateful for, and would highly recommend it to any economist motivated to make an impact in many of the pressing environmental issues facing mankind.
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