Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Position Announcement: Assistant Professor of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

Monday, July 29th, 2013

This position might be of interest to readers of this blog:

Assistant Professor
Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
Department of Applied Economics
University of Minnesota

This position is open to candidates with interests related to environmental and resource economics. Current topics of interest include water resources, air and water quality, land use, fisheries, forestry, biodiversity conservation, climate change, renewable energy, integrated natural science and economic modeling, and the interplay between agriculture and the environment.

Candidates will be expected to demonstrate an ability to carry out the following:

a) Develop a leading nationally and internationally recognized research program related to environmental and resource economics with a strong emphasis in the application of quantitative methods and economic theory to timely and relevant environmental and natural resource topics. Residing in a leading Tier 1 research university, the individual will be expected to develop strong and productive disciplinary and interdisciplinary research programs with our vibrant linkages to programs in the Institute on the Environment, Water Resources, Conservation Biology, School of Public Health, Carlson School of Management, Humphrey Institute on Public Affairs, Academic Health Services (Medical School, College of Veterinary Medicine), Law School, and related departments within the University, as well as our non-governmental, government and business constituents.

b) Teach courses at the graduate and undergraduate level in environmental and natural resource economics, and possibly applied microeconomic theory core courses, quantitative methods courses, and interdisciplinary courses in environmental and resource sciences and management. Develop classes that will fit into the overall teaching needs of the Department of Applied Economics and be consistent with his/her research program.

c) Provide leadership for the department’s programs, engaging in development of teaching and research programs to move the department in innovative, productive and relevant research and educational activities.

d) Develop successful grant proposals and work with interdisciplinary research teams, drawing upon expertise in environmental and natural resource sciences, forestry, agricultural, public health, fisheries and wildlife, ecology, climatology and other areas in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and the broader University, to conduct research and deliver knowledge to a wide range of audiences.


Jay Coggins
(612) 626-5411

For more information on how to apply, click here.

Organic Is Not the Most Environmentally Friendly Way to Farm

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

 Contrary to widespread consumer belief, organic farming is not the best way to farm from an environmental point of view. The guiding principle of organic is to rely exclusively on natural inputs.  That was decided early in the 20th century, decades before before the scientific disciplines of toxicology, environmental studies and climate science emerged to inform our understanding of how farming practices impact the environment.  As both farming and science have progressed, there are now several cutting edge agricultural practices which are good for the environment, but difficult or impossible for organic farmers to implement within the constraints of their pre-scientific rules.

From a fascinating post by plant pathologist S.D. Savage, in which he gives six reasons why organic agriculture is not the most environmentally friendly way to farm.

People interested in food policy (PPS590 students, even though your term paper is due tonight, this means you) should read Savage’s post in full, but if you are in a hurry, here are those six reasons: (more…)

African Institutions and the Endangered Species Act

Monday, March 25th, 2013

From an op-ed I published in the Star Tribune (Minneapolis–St. Paul) this past weekend:

Not only is Tanzania a relatively corrupt country, but researchers also note extensive corruption in the hunting sector. It is for that reason that Tanzania’s minister for natural resources and tourism issued a stern warning to the Tanzania Safari Outfitters Association at a meeting in Dar es Salaam last fall, noting that corruption usually began with wealthy hunters bribing officials so that they would turn a blind eye to illegal behavior.

Instead of lobbying against placing the African lion on the endangered species list, Tanzania should seek to reform its institutions. Not only would this help protect the country’s big-game reserves, it is also a crucial step toward the sustainable development of the Tanzanian economy. A persistent finding in development economics is that dysfunctional institutions, of which corruption is a symptom, are an important cause of underdevelopment.