Environment and Development

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Eric Neumayer STC. S503, Dr Benjamin Groom KGS. K203, Dr Charles Palmer KGS. K206 and Dr Richard Perkins STC. S413


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Environment and Development. This course is available on the MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies and MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


Students who have not completed a course in first year undergraduate level Economics might find it useful to audit EC100 Economics A

Course content

MT: Environment-economy linkages and the concept of sustainable economic development; The 'source'-side: Resource availability for sustained economic growth; The 'sink'-side: Economic growth and the environment; Trade, investment and the environment; Measuring progress towards sustainability: Genuine Savings (GS), the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) and the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI); Technological lock-in, innovation and system transformation; Corporate social responsibility: Drivers, strategy and outcomes.

LT: The demand for and supply of energy, food, and water have important implications for resource use and the environment. They also serve as building blocks for economic development. With a focus on individuals and countries in the global south, this course aims to impart knowledge and develop critical thinking about a number of selected topics concerned with the interface between environment and development. After an introduction (week 1), Part I concentrates on two topics, which play a key role in conditioning the supply of ecosystem services, institutions (week 2) and biodiversity (week 3). Part II devotes a week each to food (week 4), water (week 5), and energy (week 6), with special attention paid to issues of contemporary policy relevance, for example, food security, climate adaptation, and the energy transition. Part III focuses on three selected topics, which cut across many of the themes covered in the first two parts of the course: biofuels (week 7); forests (week 8); and, urban (week 9). The LT concludes with a closer examination of policy used to manage the some of the trade-offs between environment and development studied earlier in the course (week 10).


15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT. 15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Indicative reading

MT: E Neumayer, Weak versus Strong Sustainability: Exploring the Limits of Two Opposing Paradigms, 4th edn, Edward Elgar, 2013; E Neumayer, Greening Trade and Investment: Environmental Protection without Protectionism, Earthscan, 2001. M Blowfield and A Murray, Corporate Responsibility: A Critical Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2nd edition, 2011.

LT: R Lopez and M Toman, Economic Development and Environmental Sustainability. Columbia University Press, 2006. E Barbier, Natural resources and economic development, Cambridge University Press, 2005.


Exam (75%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (25%, 2500 words) in the ST.

(5,000 word extended essay (25%) for students of MSc Environment and Development not writing a dissertation).

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 12.6
Merit 54.1
Pass 29.4
Fail 3.9

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2012/13: 69

Average class size 2012/13: 14

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Communication

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 80.4%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)