The Rise of International Environmental Risks: Corporate and Government Strategies

by Prof. John Wargo

This graduate course will examine global food challenges that affect environmental quality and human health. A wide diversity of laws and regulations apply to food: air and water quality, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, plastics, energy, carbon pricing and exchanges, emission limits, pollution trading rights, land use, tariffs, subsidies, taxes, territorial and geographic designations, and certification.

We will critically examine corporate political strategies, differing legal standards among nations, trade barriers, changing consumer preferences, mergers & acquisitions, public subsidies, vertical ownership of
value chains, advertising trends, and organic certification standards. Comparisons will be made among Swiss, EU, and US laws and regulations where possible.

You will learn to evaluate the effectiveness of environmental laws and policies that have been adopted to address a diversity of challenges the world faces.

  1. Transboundary Environmental Risk & Law: Lessons from Nuclear Technologies
  2. Food, Agriculture & Technology: Cost-Benefit vs Risk-Only Decision Criteria
  3. Trade & Environmental Risks: International Law vs NGO Certification: Palm Case
  4. Plastics, Wastes, & Contamination: Pathways toward a Circular Economy
  5. Biotechnology, Oligopoly, & Environmental Risk Management
  6. Certification of Food Quality: Organic Standards
  7. Air Quality and Planetary Health: Control Strategies to Protect Health, Climate, Economy
  8. Diet, Energy, & Climate: Strategies to Improve Health and Climate Stability.

For each of these cases, students will be challenged to consider the following:

  1. Laws, Regulations, and Policies: Purposes, Evaluation Criteria, Effectiveness Assessment
  2. Economic Valuation of Benefits & Externalities
  3. Disparities: Who Benefits, Who is Harmed?
  4. Scientific Evaluation of Environmental & Health Risks
  5. Ethical Reasoning Relevant to Decision-Making
  6. Private Sector Initiatives to Reduce Negative Environmental Effects.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022: 9:45 - 12:15
Wednesday, 3 August 2022: 9:45 - 12:15
Thursday, 4 August 2022: 9:45 - 12:15
Friday, 5 August 2022: 9:45 - 12:15

Monday, 8 August 2022: 9:45 - 12:15
Tuesday, 9 August 2022: 9:45 - 12:15
Wednesday, 10 August 2022: 9:45 - 12:15
Thursday, 11 August 2022: 9:45 - 12:15

Solid understanding of business and economics on the bachelor level. The following courses are helpful.
Environmental and Resource Economics (10160)
Public Choice and Public Economics (10148)
Globalization and European Integration (Globalisierung und europäische Integration, 34504)

You are expected to attend every class. Final grades will be determined as follows:

  • 20% Participation in Discussions
  • 40% Essay 1500 words: Due 12 August 2022, 15:00
  • 40% Take Home Exam: Tentative Due Date: 19 August 2022, 15:00.

Prof. John Wargo
Professor of Environmental Health and Political Science
School of Forestry & Environmental Studies,
Yale University, New Heaven