Friday, February 23, 2018 - 14:00 to 16:00
PhD Candidate: David Cook
Title of Thesis: Promoting environmental sustainability through the utilisation of an indicator set, ecosystem services perspective and non-market valuation techniques.
Opponents: Professor Robert Costanza (Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University) and Professor Giles Atkinson (London School of Economics).
Supervisor: Dr Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir Professor at Faculty of Economics and Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences
Doctoral Committee: Dr Daði Már Kristófersson Professor and Dean School of Social Sciences and Dr Ståle Navrud Professor at Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
Chair of Ceremony: Dr Ásgeir Jónson, head of Faculty of Economics.
The focus of this thesis is diverse and interdisciplinary but a dominant theme is a concern about energy policy in Iceland and the pursuit of sustainable energy development. Initially, the relationship between energy development and environmental impacts in Iceland is framed within a broader consideration of national environmental sustainability indicators. Later, at the project-specific level, these issues are linked to the change in provision of ecosystem services occurring when Iceland’s geothermal resources are utilized in power projects, and, for all power projects, how economic valuations of these changes could be accommodated within the Icelandic decision-making framework. Economic analysis using the contingent valuation method is conducted, estimating willingness to pay to preserve two geothermal fields, Eldvörp and Hverahlíð, illustrating the economic value people derive from these areas. The estimated willingness to pay an additional lump-sum tax for the preservation of Eldvörp and Hverahlíð was 8.433 ISK and 7.122 ISK respectively, illustrating the importance of accounting for such values in economic decision-making. In light of the limited knowledge in Iceland a further contingent valuation study estimates the economic value of preserving Heiðmörk, an area of recreational parkland on the edge of Reykjavík. Mean willingness to pay an additional lump-sum tax was 17,039 to 24,790 ISK per payment.
About the PhD Candidate:
David Cook was born in Paignton, England in 1983. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Exeter in 2005, and was awarded an MSc degree in Sustainable Development from the University of Exeter in 2007. He received an MA degree in Town and Country Planning from the University of the West of England in 2012 and MS in Environment and Natural Resources at University of Iceland in 2014. David started his PhD studies in Environment and Natural Resources during the summer of 2014. In addition to his PhD studies, David enjoys playing cricket and tennis, as well as hiking and travelling.