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Exploring Possible Futures

Exploring Possible Futures

Modelling in Environmental and Energy Economics

Updated September 2022

What will our future look like? Will we continue burning fossil fuels or will we live in a 100% renewable world? How can we address climate change and what policies do we need to implement?

This online course explores these concerns, using models in environmental and energy economics. You will learn how to design models, how to interpret and use results to make informed decisions, and how to use models to assess energy and environmental policies. We will provide you with model examples to make you familiar with aspects of economic modelling and state-of-the-art research on current debates in energy policy.

In this course you will cover several topics:

  • Climate change and energy policies.
  • Evidence-based recommendations on current problems of energy policy.
  • Models in environmental economics and energy economics.
  • Building blocks of models and possible applications.**
  • Informed decisions by the results of different modelling approaches.

A course published first in 2015 on FutureLearn

Note that this course was published first in 2015 by the University of Basel on FutureLearn. Adapting the course to the format you are seeing meant that we had to change certain aspects. However, there are still traces of the other format in it. FutureLearn is a global platform offering free online courses that profit from social learning. This means that the original course encouraged discussions between the learners. Unfortunately, this is not possible in this new format - which, on the other hand, has other advantages, for instance that the course content is freely accessible at all times. On FutureLearn, courses are organised in weeks while in the new format we prefer to offer courses in chapters.

We adapted the structure and replaced the discussions by other step types, where this was possible. However, we did not delete the mention of “weeks” or the invitations to “comment and discuss” from the videos as this would have meant that we would need to record certain materials again. So please do not get confused if the educators talk about “weeks” or invite you to “discuss” something in the comments section.

Throughout the course, we invite you to consider questions or review the content. We recommend that you write down the results of these reviews and the answers to the questions from the beginning. This way you can keep track of how your knowledge changes. And should you be able to participate in one of the authors’ face-to-face courses, you can thus refer back to your answers and thoughts and discuss them with your peers.


Prof. Dr. Frank Krysiak

Professor of environmental economics at the Department of Environmental Economics. Research interests include the long-term impacts of environmental politics and economic theories of sustainability.


Prof. Dr. Hannes Weigt

Professor for energy economics at the Department of Energy Economics. Research interests include: Market Modeling and Electricity Market Design, Renewable Energies and Environmental Policies, Investment and Incentives in Network Industries, Competition Policy and Regulation.