The Australian National University

Crawford School

Executive Education


ANU Crawford School of Public Policy Executive Education Subscription Course


Environmental economics for non-economists:
Policy narratives for sustainable development

The Australian Government’s new carbon pricing policy was introduced amidst opinion polls suggesting high levels of public concern about its potential impact on electricity prices. Whilst the public furore appears to have receded, the systemic trend of rising electricity prices potentially risks re-igniting public and political debate on this issue.

Under these circumstances, it is prudent for public policymakers to hone up on their policy narratives, arm themselves with the available evidence, and engage credibly and constructively with the wider community to demonstrate the power and utility of environmental pricing in terms of longer term economic sustainability.

In this course, Dr Paul Burke will demonstrate why sustainable economic growth is not an oxymoron and how basic environmental economics can be used to make sure that we properly manage our valuable, but often under-priced, environmental assets. Paul will also share insights on the art of effective policy discourse, through the use of well-chosen and compelling policy narratives, to persuasively communicate sustainable environmental policies and concepts to the broader Australian community.


Date: Friday 14 June 2013
Venue: Crawford School, ANU
Cost: $1,100 GST-incl; Group discounts applicable
Enrol: T 02 6125 2154 E anipp@anu.edu.au

Course overview

If the policy agenda is to improve environmental outcomes, it is imperative to gain an understanding of the basic tools and policy lessons of environmental economics. Whilst some may claim that unfettered economic growth is the main source of many environmental problems, Dr Paul Burke will demonstrate how environmental economics can create "missing" markets and tilt the balance back towards the environment. Paul will explain how sustainable economic growth is now a realistic and achievable policy goal and delve into examples of notable successes over recent decades which demonstrate that the current policy ambition of reducing carbon emissions is indeed viable and achievable with use of the appropriate economic policy instruments.

The course will also cover issues in the measurement of sustainability and explore case studies where environmental economics has been successfully utilised in managing sulfur emissions, water pollution and the over-utilisation of key food resources such as fishery stocks.

Course convenor

Dr Paul Burke is a Research Fellow at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University. He works on the economics of energy systems, climate change, sustainability, and developing countries. He was formerly an economist with Mekong Economics Ltd conducting project management and research for the World Bank, AusAID, DFID, JBIC, United Nations and other aid donors. He has implemented projects and conducted research for various Ministries and agencies in Vietnam, with the Tonga Ministry of Finance and Planning and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural & Resource Economics (ABARE). Paul is a frequent contributor to the public policy debate on economic approaches to environmental challenges and is highly regarded for getting to the heart of the key economic and public policy issues that matter to policymakers. A gifted and dynamic communicator, Paul will outline the principles of environmental economics in a highly accessible, welcoming and interactive fashion that will be particularly well-suited for non-economist audiences.


ANIPP and the HC Coombs Policy Forum receive Australian Government funding under the ‘Enhancing Public Policy Initiative’
Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University
CRICOS Provider : 00120C | ABN : 52 234 063 906


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