ECN180 Global Challenges I. Economics and Sustainability

Credits (ECTS):5

Course responsible:Erlend Dancke Sandorf

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Norsk

Limits of class size:165.

Course frequency:Annually

Nominal workload:125 hours

Teaching and exam period:This course starts in August block. This course has teaching/evaluation in August block.

About this course

The course presents the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and gives a brief overview of global and regional technological, economical, demographical, and environmental developments the last 200 years. Two different perspectives on the relations between economic development and environmental problems are introduced and discussed: A pessimistic and an optimistic approach, also illustrated with the IPAT-equation and the Environmental Kuznets Curve. Alternative means aimed at achieving selected goals on energy, food security, poverty and climate change are discussed. Emphasis is placed on synergies and trade-offs between different SDGs. The course will also inform students about why and how our degree programs will provide the students with competencies that can be of use in work aimed at realizing sustainable development.

Learning outcome


  • Overview of UN's 17 Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs).
  • A brief overview of global and regional economic, demographic and environmental development the last 200 years
  • Knowledge of opposite positions on the relation between economic development and environmental problems.
  • A basic understanding of the IPAT-equation and the Environmental Kuznets Curve. Firm understanding of the concepts synergies and tradeoffs.
  • Knowledge about selected cases illustrating sustainable development dilemmas


  • Ability to identify and evaluate compexities and synergies vs. trade-offs between different SDGs.
  • Abilty to contribute in a constructive way in team work.
  • Ability to search for and evaluate digital information from different sources.


  • Gain insight in the challenges related to sustainable Development.
  • Collect, analyse and evaluate information, and thereafter process and present findings.
  • Ability to reflect and base decisions on ethical principles.
  • Lectures, group discussions, term papers, multiple choice exams, and group presentations in a plenary session.
  • Group discussions with contributions from instructors and feedback on term papers.
  • Portfolio: 3-4 multiple choice exams during the three weeks. One group-presentation in a plenary session (pechakucha format) the last day of the course. The topic of the presentation will be given on the second last lecture (topic 8). Grading: Pass/Fail. No re-examination.

  • An external examiner will review the syllabus and assignments
  • Seven group assignments must be delivered and approved to be allowed to take the final exam.

    Students that will come later than the first class on the second day of lectures will not be able to take part in this class.

  • 9 days with structured teaching (lectures, seminars and group activities)