Economics for Environmental Professionals: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Economics for Environmental Professionals

1st Edition

By Frank R. Spellman

CRC Press

575 pages | 38 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2015-04-13
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Environmental professionals are often called upon to find solutions to environmental degradation problems or to lead the way in planning to prevent them. Because they come mainly from the environmental and science disciplines, most environmental professionals have limited training in the fundamentals of economics. This book is designed to provide those professionals not only with the basic principles of economics for foundational purposes but also the economic pros and cons to consider when making critical decisions on environmental issues.

Economics for Environmental Professionals provides a fully explanatory, quantitative, and practical introduction to a wide range of topics that make up the science of environmental economics. Moreover, it showcases the power of economic principles to explain and predict issues and current events impacting the environment. It discusses the economics relevant to the environmental mediums of air, water, and land and provides pertinent information on air toxics, hazardous wastes, and other related topics. It provides environmental professionals with the education not only to understand the nuts and bolts of economic analysis but also to conduct economic analyses.

Throughout the book, the author joins economics and environmental practice with common-sense approaches and practical real-world examples. Designed to stimulate thought, the book explores strategies for maintaining a safe environment without excessive regulation and cost. With the information in this book, environmental professionals will have an understanding of the framework in which environmental problems exist, what they cost, how to pay for them, and what the payback is (if any).


"…an excellent book for practitioners. … As the author notes, economics is terra incognita to most environmental professionals. Much to his credit, the author makes the subject understandable and shows its very practical applications. …this will be a welcome [addition] to the field."

—Michael Curley, Environmental Law Institute

Table of Contents



What Is Environmental Economics?

Why Study Environmental Economics?

Unique Aspects and Concepts

Economic Development and Environmental Quality

Sustainable Development

Biodiversity and Economics

Thought-Provoking Questions

References and Recommended Reading

Environmental Econometrics

Environmental Practice and Economics


Interest Rate

Simple Interest

Compound Interest

Time Value of Money

Capital-Recovery Factor (Equal-Payment Series)

Uniform Series Present Worth (Value) Factor

Future Value

Annual Payment (Uniform Series Sinking Fund)

Present Value Basics

Present Value of Future Dollar Amount

Future Value of a Present Amount

Review Questions

Answers to Chapter Review Questions

References and Recommended Reading

Energy Units and Math Operations

Economic Perspectives on Energy

About Energy

Clean Energy Parameters and Calculations

Thought-Provoking Questions

References and Recommended Reading

Cost-Benefit Analysis



Intergenerational Equity and Sustainability


Social Discounting

What Are Costs and Benefits?

Framing a Cost-Benefit Analysis

Thought-Provoking Questions

References and Recommended Reading

Economic Theory


Market Economy

Reasons for Market or Institutional Failure

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Measuring Economic Impacts

Optimal Level of Regulation

Thought-Provoking Questions

References and Recommended Reading


Regulatory Approaches to Pollution Control


Role of Cost in Setting of Regulations

Environmental Policy Options

Market-Oriented Approaches

Other Market-Oriented Hybrid Approaches

Thought-Provoking Questions

References and Recommended Reading


Economics of Clean Air


A Brief Sketch of the Science of Air

"Revolutionary" Science

Characteristics and Properties of the Components of Air

Air for Combustion

Air for Power

The Atmosphere

Earth’s Thin Skin

Moisture in the Atmosphere

Air Quality

Air Quality Management

Clean Air Act

Clean Air Act Amendments

Air Pollution

Major Air Pollutants

Benefits and Costs of CAA

Trading in Clean Air Act Programs

Thought-Provoking Questions

References and Recommended Reading

Economics of Clean Water


General Economic Concepts

Water Use and Availability

Water Quality Trading

Thought-Provoking Questions

References and Recommended Reading

Soil Quality Economics


Soil Basics

Soil: What Is It?


Soil Formation

Soil Characterization

Soil Mechanics and Physics

Solid Waste Regulatory History in the United States

Solid Waste Characteristics

Sources of Municipal Solid Wastes

The Bottom Line on Soil Basics

Maintaining Soil Quality: An Economic View

Major Considerations for Evaluating Land Cleanup and Reuse

Benefits of Land Cleanup and Reuse

Cost of Land Cleanup and Reuse

Thought-Provoking Questions

References and Recommended Reading


Economic Contributions and Values of Conservation


Conservation Economics

Thought-Provoking Questions

References and Recommended Reading


About the Author

Frank R. Spellman, PhD, is a retired assistant professor of environmental health at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, and the author of more than 90 books covering topics ranging from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to all areas of environmental science and occupational health. Dr. Spellman lectures on sewage treatment, water treatment, and homeland security, as well as on safety topics, throughout the country and teaches water/wastewater operator short courses at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. He earned a BA in public administration, a BS in business management, an MBA, and both an MS and a PhD in environmental engineering.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Environmental
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Ecology