Energy Policy-Related Courses: Fall 2018

21st Century Energy (See below, under "Twenty First Century Energy”)

The Climate-Energy Challenge (SCIPHIUNV 29)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Daniel Schrag
Fall 2018
Description: This course will examine future climate change in the context of Earth history, and then consider various strategies for what might be done to deal with it. The likely impacts of continued greenhouse gas emissions will be explored, emphasizing the scientific uncertainties associated with various predictions, and how this can be understood in the context of risk. In the latter third of the class, the question of how to mitigate climate change will be discussed, including an examination of various options for advanced energy systems.

Climate Policy—Past, Present, and Future (ESPP 90Z)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Gernot Wagner
Fall 2018
Description: What’s the optimal way to curb carbon emissions? Should we price fossil or subsidize low-carbon energy? What’s the role of solar geoengineering? What should it be? What will it be? The course has two goals: to provide a set of tools to approach these and many other fundamental climate policy questions, and to help us distinguish positive (what will bed) from normative (what should be) analysis. Economics and political economy provide particularly powerful lenses through which to analyze climate policy: past, present, and future.

Electricity Market Design (API-I66)
Harvard Kennedy School
William Hogan
Fall 2018
Description: Topics in electricity market design starting from the foundations of coordination for competition. Infrastructure investment, Resource Adequacy, Pricing Models, Cost Allocation, Energy Trading, Forward Hedging, Market Manipulation, Distribution Regulation, and Policy for Clean Energy Innovation. Assumes some knowledge about the engineering, economics, and regulation of the power sector.

Energy: Be the Change (FRSEMR 27K)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Mara Prentiss
Fall 2018
Description: In the US, energy use creates large political and social tensions and much emphasis is placed on climate change. In China, health issues surrounding energy use are emerging as a critical issue. Importantly, there are many areas where the role of energy is often overlooked. A large fraction of current geopolitical tensions arise from issues originating in energy consumption, and that fraction may increase as water use and energy use become more closely tied. Too many discussions of energy focus on one feature of the problem, without considering how a change in one area will inevitably ripple out with the power to transform our relationships with each other and with the physical world. Some of those ripple effects are enormously positive, others are not. The goal of the course will be to choose energy changes that we would like to happen and to form a realistic plan for making that change occur. An important feature of the discussion will be considerations about what is physically possible; however, the major emphasis will be on trying to understand the connections that will be altered by that change. Any change, however laudable, inevitably creates both winners and losers. For change to happen, losers must at least be brought to accept the change. One goal of the course will be to establish local and global forums that allow us to learn more about people’s reactions to proposals for energy change so that our proposals for change have a real possibility of coming to pass.

Course open to Freshman Students Only.

The Energy-Climate Challenge (IGA-411)
Harvard Kennedy School
John Holdren and Henry Lee
Fall 2018
Description: The greatest challenge at the intersection of science, technology, and public policy in the 21st century has arisen because society is getting 80 percent of the massive quantities of energy it needs using fuels and technologies that are disrupting global climate and the array of environmental goods and services that depend on it. This course will examine the character and magnitude of this challenge and the policy choices germane to meeting it, introducing and applying relevant concepts from environmental science, energy-technology assessment, policy design, and domestic and global politics.

Energy Economy for Developing Countries: Perspectives fromt he Past; Challenges for the Future (ESPP-90N)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Michael McElroy
Fall 2018
Description: The seminar will provide a historical perspective of the development of the Chinese, Indian and African economies with emphasis on their energy sectors, including analysis of related environmental problems. Low-carbon energy options will be introduced, including opportunities for nuclear, wind, solar, hydro, and biofuels. Relations to the global energy systems will be discussed. The seminar will discuss tradeoffs implicit in these choices with respect to reconciling competing goals for environmental protection and economic development. 

Energy Related Materials and Technologies (ENG-SCI 384)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Xin Li
Fall 2018

Environmental Law and Policy Clinic
Harvard Law School
Wendy B. Jacobs
Fall 2018 (also offered in Winter 2018 and Spring 2018)
Description: The Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic (ELPC) offers students an opportunity to do hands-on, meaningful, real-life, and real-time environmental/energy regulatory, policy and advocacy work. Clinic offerings include local, national, and international projects covering the spectrum of environmental, energy and administrative law issues, under the leadership of Director and Clinical Professor Wendy Jacobs. Clinic students work on policy projects and white papers, regulatory and statutory drafting and comments, manuals and guidance to help non-lawyers identify and protect their rights, litigation and advocacy work, including developing case strategies, research and drafting briefs (filed in state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court), preparing witnesses and their testimony, meeting with clients and attending and presenting at administrative and court hearings. Our clients include state and municipal governments, non-governmental organizations, advocacy and community groups, and research and policy institutions. The subject matter varies each semester, but often includes climate change migration, citizen science, climate change mitigation and adaptation, offshore drilling and water protection, sustainable agriculture/aquaculture, ethics in the study of human exposure to environmental contaminants, development of legal frameworks for emerging technologies such as carbon capture and sequestration, extraction of natural gas by hydraulic fracturing, " and aiding environmental protection and advocacy groups to identify opportunities and strategies for participating in the review and permitting processes for significant energy infrastructure projects.

Environmental Politics (ESPP 78)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Sheila Jasanoff
Fall 2018 
Description: An introduction to the history, organization, goals, and ideals of environmental protection in America. Examines the shifts in emphasis from nature protection to pollution control to sustainability over the past hundred years and develops critical tools to analyze changing conceptions of nature and the role of science in environmental policy formulation. Of central interest is the relationship between knowledge, uncertainty, and political or legal action. Theoretical approaches are combined with case studies of major episodes and controversies in environmental protection.

Environmental Systems 1 (SCI 6121)
Graduate School of Design
Ali Malkawi
Fall 2018 
Description: This course is the first of a two-module sequence in Building Technology (6121, 6122) and constitutes part of the core curriculum in architecture. Objectives: To study selected aspects of the physical environment which directly affect people and their buildings, such as climate, weather, solar radiation and heat gain and loss. To study the means by which environmental factors may be wisely utilized, controlled and modified as an integral part of the architectural design.

Environmental Systems 2 (SCI 6122)
Harvard Graduate School of Design
Holly Samuelson
Fall 2018
Description: This course is the second of a two-module sequence in Building Technology (6121, 6122) and constitutes part of the core curriculum in architecture as well as MDes Energy and Environments. The objective of the course is to continue the study of environmental considerations in architectural design. The course will cover building systems and their technologies including the conventional and emerging HVAC systems, renewable energy systems, and other active building systems. It will also introduces daylight and electric lighting in buildings along with manual and computer-based methods for analyzing daylight design. The course also covers fundamental concepts of acoustics and their application in architecture. In this course students will: Learn the basic principles and applications of daylighting and acoustic considerations in architecture. Learn to perform cutting-edge daylight simulations. Learn the fundamentals of HVAC systems in architecture, and practice the schematic design of such systems. Continue to develop analytical and creative thinking regarding sustainability and energy issues in building design. The class format includes biweekly lectures, interactive workshops, lectures from industry experts, quizzes, and a site visit. Where noted, attendance at evening workshops is mandatory. In all classes, the goal is an interactive format, so questions, comments, and other forms of active participation are encouraged.
 
From the Little Ice Age to Climate Change: Introduction to US Environmental History (HIST 1054) 
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Zachary Nowak
Fall 2018
Description: How did people in what is now the United States shape their environment, and how were they shaped by it? This course examines how humans thought about and used the natural world over the centuries and the consequences of both use of and thoughts about the nature. Topics include food, climate change, pollution, conquest and resistance, environmentalism, and energy. This course actively seeks to show the importance of the material world and the contributions of a broad spectrum of historical actors to US history, among them Native Americans, enslaved people, women, working people, and outlaws, as well as the climate, microbes, and animals.
 
The Geopolitics of Energy (IGA-412)
Harvard Kennedy School
Meghan O'Sullivan
Fall 2018
Description: The Geopolitics of Energy examines the intersection between international security, politics, and energy. The course begins with the recognition that energy has long been a major determinant of power in the international system and that every shift in global energy patterns has brought with it changes in international politics. IGA-412 explores how countries shape their grand strategies to meet their energy needs, as well as how such actions have implications for other countries and global politics. It looks at pressing contemporary issues related to peak oil, political reform and energy, pipeline politics, and the aggressive pursuit of oil and gas worldwide. The course also looks at new technologies and innovations - such as those making the extraction of shale gas economical or the growth of solar power - and how they are changing patterns of trades and could shape new alliances. Finally, IGA-412 considers the consequences of a successful shift away from petroleum based economies to anticipate how a new energy order will alter global politics in fundamental ways.
 
Land Use and Environmental Law (SES 5206)
Harvard Graduate School of Design
Harvard Kennedy School
Jerold S. Kayden
Fall 2018
Description: As a scarce and necessary resource, land triggers competition and conflict over its possession and use. For privately owned land, the market manages much of the competition through its familiar allocative price-setting framework. However, because one person’s use of privately owned land affects the individual and collective interests of others and because market mechanisms alone are not always adequate to protect or promote such interests, laws enacted by legislative bodies, administered by government agencies, and reviewed by courts play a significant role in determining the use of land. Encompassed in local ordinances, higher-level legislation, administrative rules, constitutions, judicial opinions, discretionary governmental decisions, and private agreements, land use laws and environmental laws shape the look, feel, and socio-economic dynamics of cities, suburbs, and rural areas worldwide. For example, zoning’s use restrictions affect whether neighborhoods are homogeneous or heterogeneous, its density and lot area restrictions scatter, cluster, or even drastically curb housing production, its height and setback restrictions sculpt the skyline. Environmental laws govern the extent to which land uses pollute air, water, and land, whether habitat is available for endangered species, whether wetlands are preserved, and whether individuals build in areas vulnerable to floods, hurricanes, forest fires, and earthquakes. Do these laws achieve the types of environments desired by everyone? Do they serve some groups more than other groups? Are they an undue infringement on individual rights to property, free speech, and other constitutionally protected rights? Do they stifle design creativity? Are they up to the task of addressing the anticipated consequences of climate change? This course is about land use laws and environmental laws and introduces students to their content and controversies. Although the course operates on the assumption that incoming students have no legal knowledge or background, those with a background in law can also benefit. Students will gain a working knowledge of popular legal techniques, their implementing institutions, and their judicial reception, along with an understanding of theories that explain and justify the demand for law’s control over privately owned land. For pedagogical reasons, laws from the United States will be used as primary sources, but comparisons and distinctions with laws in other countries will be regularly made. The role of non-lawyer professionals, such as planners, designers, public policymakers, real estate developers, and community activists, in influencing, drafting, and implementing land use and environmental laws, is unpacked. The course defines and distinguishes law’s method from those employed by other disciplines and fields. Reading assignments come from primary sources, such as legislation, judicial opinions, and constitutions, as well as secondary sources such as law review articles, journal articles, book excerpts, and professional reports. A written exercise requires students to examine one provision in a zoning ordinance and draft its replacement. An oral final exam will measure overall fluency with the subject matter.
 
Natural Resources Law
Harvard Law School
Robert Anderson
Fall 2018
Description: This is a survey course on Natural Resources Law with an emphasis on federal public land management. Topics covered include Wildlife and Living Marine Resources, Rangelands, Forest Lands, Protected Lands, Minerals, Forests, and Energy Resources. Special attention will be paid to issues of Natural Resource Management on American Indian Lands. The course also addresses state responsibilities for natural resources management (focusing on the public trust doctrine).
 
Physics of Climate
Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Zhiming Kuang
Fall 2018
Description: Overview of the basic features of the climate system (global energy balance, atmospheric general circulation, ocean circulation, and climate variability) and the underlying physical processes.
 

Powering the U.S. Electric Grid
Harvard Law School
Ari Peskoe
Fall 2018
Description: In this reading group, we will explore historic and ongoing legal and policy debates over the fuels that power the U.S. electric grid. We will begin with proposals by the federal government to construct mega-dams in the first half of the twentieth century and continue to current controversies about rooftop solar. The fuels that generate electricity have implications for economic growth and environmental quality (including climate change), and they have unfolded in a complex political environment. To provide context, we will read about the utility industry’s business model, the electric grid’s operations, and the tradeoffs among different energy sources, including fossil fuels like coal and emission-free energy sources like nuclear and wind. Through these debates, we’ll watch an industry evolve and speculate on where it may be headed.

Science, Power, and Politics (IGA 513/HISTSCI 285)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Sheila Jasanoff
Fall 2018
Description: This seminar introduces students to the major contributions of the field of science and technology studies (STS) to the understanding of politics and policymaking in democratic societies.

Seminar in Environmental Economics and Policy (API 905Y/Econ 3116)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Harvard Kennedy School
Robert Stavins and Martin Weitzman
Fall 2018 (also offered Spring 2019)
Description: Selected topics in environmental and resource economics. Emphasizes theoretical models, quantitative empirical analysis, and public policy applications. Includes invited outside speakers.

Sustainable Real Estate
Harvard Graduate School of Design
Faculty
Fall 2018
Description: This introductory course surveys the historical foundations, economic logics and underlying physics that underscore the design, development and operations of sustainable buildings. The recurring theme of people, place and profit is redefined within the context of user demand, asset management, site planning, building design and financial acumen. Students trace a narrative of process that begins with market analysis and conceptual design and ends with de-commissioning and recycling. Throughout the course, the central subjectivities and applications of sustainability will be challenged in order to critically evaluate aspects of social, financial, and environmental sustainability. In particular, the course seeks to understand the nature and extent to which empirical science can inform risk-adjusted business decisions. In practical terms, the course is built upon basic technical calculations ranging from material energy transfers to discount cash-flow analysis. These calculations are contextualized against building code benchmarks and exemplified through various technologies and building systems. The course includes a systematic review of various rating systems, building codes and delivery models, as well as the support systems necessary for informing investment and design decisions. At the conclusion of the course, students will have sufficient knowledge to pursue further competencies and accreditations leading to an entry-level practice in sustainable real estate management. For design students, the course defines a fundamental set of operational and economic parameters that shape design decisions and development trade-offs in commercial real estate. Students will be evaluated through the development of a business case based on programmatic requirements set forth in an RFP issued by the U.S General Services Administration (GSA). The business case will be based on an integrated design and financial strategy that includes a pre-tax investment analysis, physical plans and designs, and life-cycle projections. The course will conclude with a presentation of the business case in a format that is intended to simulate the process of making a successful bid to a GSA jury. Sustainable Real Estate is not exclusively about the efficiency of inputs and outputs of market production. It is about the design of material investments in the built environment that promote efficiency and reduce consumption in the advancement of the stability and durability of a broader range of urban ecologies. There are no prerequisite courses required for this course.

Transforming Technologies: Science, Technology, and Social Change in the Field (HISTSCI 231A)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Naomi Oreskes
Fall 2018
Description: Companion field work for HistSci 231 in Ladakh, India.

Transportation Policy and Planning
Harvard Graduate School of Design and Harvard Kennedy School
Jose A. Gomez-Ibanez
Fall 2018
Description: The course is intended to develop in students an understanding of the management, policy and planning problems that are peculiar to transportation and other types of infrastructure. The first half develops three basic analytic skills: 1. The ability to evaluate spatially and temporally detailed demand forecasts by systematically identifying and analyzing the relevant markets and by understanding the strengths and weakness of traditional mode split and four-step models. 2. The ability to estimate the costs of different services despite the presence of economies of scale and scope, peak, joint, fixed and sunk costs and other complications and an understanding of the different roles that cost and non-cost considerations play in the service and pricing decisions of for-profit firms and public enterprises. 3. A basic understanding of the importance of scheduling, network design and inventory policy in balancing customer convenience with carrier cost. The second half builds the capability to identify and evaluate remedies for four policy and planning issues: 1. An understanding of the basic options for controlling congestion (such as building new capacity vs. managing existing capacity better) and air pollution (such as reducing vehicle miles traveled vs. reducing emissions per vehicle mile) and the ability to determine which option is most appropriate in a particular situation. 2. The ability to assess when a transportation policy or investment is likely to have a significant effect on urban land use and land values, including an understanding of the role the transportation has played in shaping metropolitan form in the past and the extent to which the parallels with the past can be misleading. 3. An understanding of when it is economically sensible and politically acceptable to have a private firm provide transportation services through public-private partnerships or other means and the ability to assess the need for government to regulate the prices or quality of service of private providers. 4. An understanding of the pros and cons of using transportation investments as a tool to stimulate the national economy or lagging regions including the different roles that benefit-cost, financial and regional income analyses play in the evaluation of those investments and how jobs created and the indirect or wider economic effects of investments should be reflected in the benefit-cost and financial analyses. The course is taught primarily by the case method and the cases are drawn from a variety of urban and intercity modes, including mass transit, highways, railroads, airlines and ferries, and from both industrialized and developing countries.

Twenty-First Century Energy
Harvard Business School
Martha Crawford Heitzmann , Forest Reinhardt , Joseph Lassiter
Fall 2018
Description: This course offers students the opportunity to develop a business-focused understanding of energy in the 21st Century. Following the “value chain” of energy - from upstream production to downstream consumption - the course provides practical insight into how business models are being shaped by global market trends, regulatory contexts, and emerging technologies.

U.S. Energy Policy and Climate Change (FRSEMR 42H) 
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
James H. Stock
Fall 2018
Description: How we produce and use energy has major implications for the economy, energy security, and climate change. The U.S. energy revolution, nonconventional oil and gas production (fracking), increasing use of renewable energy, and reduced demand has contributed to a sharp decline in U.S. oil imports, a 10% reduction in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, and economic growth. This course examines the changing U.S. energy landscape, energy security, U.S. climate policy, and the connection between these issues and our own lives. The conceptual framework is economics (but no prior economics is assumed), a powerful tool for understanding market failures and for designing government policies that are efficient, effective, and appropriate. The course starts by looking at our/your energy and carbon footprint, how much it can change, and how it connects with broader issues of energy markets, energy security, and climate change. The course then dives into three current policy issues: biofuels, the mining of coal from public lands, and the regulation of CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel fired power plants. In each case, critics complain that these policies are expensive, ineffective, and/or have unintended consequences, while others complain that they don’t go far enough given the magnitude of the challenge posed by climate change, and we will evaluate these arguments.

Course open to Freshman Students Only