Ecological Economics


Content, progress and pedagogy of the module

This module presents the foundations for analyzing the interactions between the economy and the environment from different schools of economic thought, to later use them in the analysis of climate change and the economics of the low-carbon transition framed in the Paris Agreements of 2015. The introduction to the course presents the most recent stylized facts about planetary boundaries and the scientific consensus upon which the current economic policy discussions are based. The theoretical sections of the course explore the main analytical tools used by the different approaches. As far as the neoclassical school is concerned, environmental degradation is presented as a market failure that must be resolved fundamentally from the precepts of marginalist analysis. Regarding heterodox approaches, the economy is presented as a subsystem within nature, so economic and environmental problems must be analyzed from more holistic and transdisciplinary perspectives, emphasizing the concept of "strong sustainability". In the final part of the course, specific issues currently at the center of the debate about the green transition are addressed: the change in the energy matrix, the secondary effects that the transition will produce, and the economic policies that can facilitate its successful implementation. The different topics of the course are illustrated with real-world examples that help understand their relevance. 

Learning objectives


  • Understand the importance of integrating the environment in economic analysis and how it is done by different schools of economic thought.
  • Comprehend the problem of climate change in its economic and environmental dimensions.
  • Acquire key concepts that have been progressively gaining space in the debate about climate change and economy-environment links, which are currently part of most economic analyses in the field.
  • Recognise different dimensions of the low-carbon the world economy will go through and the main debates about it, as well as the policies that would make it possible and the risks that might put it in jeopardy.
  • Familiarise with the legal frameworks and international agreements that regulate the low-carbon transition.


  • Comprehend and use widespread reports and articles combining elements from economics and environmental sciences. 
  • Apply economic analysis techniques to calculate the environmental impacts of human activity.
  • Assess the different transmission channels through which economies are and will be affected by climate change and the low-carbon transition.
  • Identify suitable economic policy tools to tackle the problems regarding climate change and the low-carbon transition.


  • Analyse economic processes holistically, combining elements from different disciplines (economics and environmental sciences at least) and schools of thought.
  • Critically assess economic (and to a certain extent environmental) policies using solid theoretic foundations.
  • Successfully contribute to inter and transdisciplinary professional environments working on different economy-environment interactions.


Prerequisite for enrollment for the exam

  • The prerequisites for participating in the exam are the following:
  • • Three assignments consisting of short essays combining elements of different lectures, on which students will receive written feedback.
  • To pass the course the prerequisites must be handed in.


Name of examEcological Economics
Type of exam
Written or oral exam
AssessmentPassed/Not Passed
Type of gradingInternal examination
Criteria of assessmentThe criteria of assessment are stated in the Examination Policies and Procedures

Facts about the module

Danish titleMiljøøkonomi
Module codeKAØKO202223
Module typeCourse
Duration1 semester
Language of instructionEnglish
Location of the lectureCampus Aalborg
Responsible for the module


Education ownerMaster of Science (MSc) in Economics
Study BoardStudy Board of Economics (cand.oecon)
DepartmentAalborg University Business School
FacultyFaculty of Social Sciences and Humanities