Book review: Environmental economics: A very short introduction

14th December 2011

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Environmental economics: A very short introduction

Stephen Smith / Oxford University Press / Paperback: £7.99 /
ISBN: 978–0–19–958358–4

Contingent valuation, cost-benefit analysis, equity weighting, double dividend, externalities and use value are all economic terms likely to be unfamiliar to many environmentalists. Stephen Smith’s wonderful little book provides a glimpse into where economic activity and the environment collide.

How can we, for example, assess the benefits people receive from a less polluted atmosphere? Is it worth reducing pollution to zero or should we consider accepting some level of pollution because of the economic benefits associated with it?

Smith provides a succinct economic perspective on many of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, from climate change and nuclear power to recycling and wildlife conservation.

One chapter focuses on the economic theory of efficient pollution control, while another looks at economic information and values in environment policy decisions.

A third examines the economics of climate change. The outcome is a very enjoyable read. Readers might even be tempted to explore environmental economics further. And in these economically challenged times that can only be a good thing.

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