Energy, Environment and Sustainability

SAM20 Energy, Environment and Sustainability

Autumn 2022

  • Topics

    The course covers the following main topics:

    • Climate risks: The consequences of climate change and associated policies, especially for firms and countries involved in the production of hydrocarbons
    • Policies against climate change: Design of international climate policies and the green paradox
    • The Power Sector: operation of the electricity market, including the wholesale and retail electricity, and the environmental damage from electricity generation
    • Sustainable Electricity: renewable energy, clean energy transition in the power sector, the challenges renewable energy sources face, global effort to accelerate the clean energy transition, Norwegian Electricity market, electric vehicles (EV)   
    • The resource curse: associated macroeconomic policy challenges, including saving versus spending of resource revenues, the phasing-in of resource revenues and the so-called Dutch disease
    • Firms and resources: The behaviour of firms in the resource industries such as producers of minerals, precious metals and oil
    • Investments in resources across countries: The roles of institutions and taxation for exploration and production
    • Global markets: oil, gas and minerals
    • Sustainable management of renewable resources: the tragedy of commons and approaches to better resource use
    • Aquaculture: Fundamental idea of renewable resource harvest with property rights, and the overview of the industry
    • Norwegian approach to resource management: history and current challenges

  • Learning outcome

    Upon completion of the course, students will:


    • have knowledge of energy sectors and energy markets, which will be crucial in achieving UN sustainability goals
    • have knowledge of how the electricity market is operated, the difference between fossil fuel generation and renewable generation, environmental aspects of renewable energy, the challenges of clean energy transition
    • have in-depth knowledge of firm behaviour in the resource industries, macroeconomic aspects of natural resource extraction, environmental aspects of the use of natural resources and how to prepare for various types of climate-related risks
    • be able to discuss sustainability, conceptually as well as specifically for resource rich economies and for some specific natural resources 
    • be able to discuss the central academic literature on the course topics
    • be able to identify analytical approaches typically applied to answer questions within these areas, including both theory and empirics
    • be able to discuss popular policies within these areas


    • be able to explain relationships between energy, natural resources, economic development and the environment in a stringent and academic manner
    • be able to critically analyse academic literature
    • be able to write and present an academic analysis as part of a team

    General competence

    • know where to seek out for further information on relevant topics, including data sources and international organizations
    • be able to discuss and participate actively in an international environment
    • applying insights from economics on real-world challenges
    • be aware of different interests and trade-offs across groups, sectors, and countries.

  • Teaching

    Physical lectures, short papers, and physical student presentations. Students are expected to attend the presentations of other groups as well as the lectures. Lectures and presentations will not necessarily be recorded.  

  • Recommended prerequisites

    Basic courses in microeconomics, such as SAM1 and SAM2 at NHH.

  • Credit reduction due to overlap

    Overlap with VOA051.

  • Compulsory Activity

    Three short papers: During the semester, students will in groups of maximum 4 hand in short papers (3 pages). There will be about one question for each topic, of which the group can choose and need to submit and get the approval of three. The three submitted short papers fulfill compulsory activities (work requirements) and it is only valid in the semester it is submitted.

    The short papers must be written in English.

  • Assessment

    The course assessment has two elements:

    1) Oral group presentation of one of the three submitted short papers (30%).

    • Group size: 2-4.
    • ​Duration: 30 minutes.

    2) Three hours individual written take-home exam (70%).

    The presentation and exam answer must be in English.

    For re-take of the oral presentation, students have to obtain new compulsory activities (work requirements) (new papers). For re-take of the digital take-home exam, new compulsory activities (work requirements) is not necessary.

  • Grading Scale

    Grading scale: A - F.

  • Literature

    Bhattacharyya, S. (2011). Energy Economics. Springer.

    Humphreys, M., J.D. Sachs and J.E. Stiglitz eds. (2007), Escaping the Resource Curse, Columbia University Press.

    Note: Other literature may be added during the course.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Offered autumn 2022.

Course responsible

Associate Professor Harim Kim, Department of Economics (main course responsible)

Professor II Torfinn Harding, Department of Economics