Spring 2019

The Anthropology of Energy: Power, Politics and Pollution

Faculty of Arts and Sciences 

Philip Kao

Spring 2019 

Description: This class will investigate how humans engage with their environing worlds (and each other) in the context of energy exploration, production, consumption and distribution. Drawing from a range of energy ethnographies (e.g. fracking, nuclear power, clean energy, the commodities market, etc.), students will be able to assess a wide range of cultural ecologies and ‘realities’. Students will learn some of the emergent concepts driving contemporary anthropology theory-building including infrastructures, crisis anthropology, the Anthropocene, energopolitics and energopower. One of the major aims of the course is to uncover how ideologies and the politics of energy and energy discourse continue to shape people’s histories and futures in dynamic and uneven ways.

 

Behavioral Economics, Law and Public Policy
Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Law School
Cass Sunstein
Spring 2019
Description: This seminar will explore a series of issues at the intersection of behavioral economics and public policy. Potential questions will involve climate change, energy efficiency, health care, and basic rights. There will be some discussion of paternalism and the implications of neuroscience as well.
Instructor permission is required.


Climate and Climate Engineeering

Faculty of Arts and Sciences   

David Keith

Spring 2019 

Description: An introduction to the physics that determine our planet’s climate, motivated by concerns about human-driven climate change. From highly-simplified models of radiation and convection in a column to state-of-the art models of the general circulation, the course provides a hands-on introduction to modeling tools as a basis for understanding predictions of climate change and assessing their uncertainty. Solar geoengineering, the possibility of deliberate large-scale intervention in the climate, is covered as a potentially important new application of atmospheric science and as a tool to motivate analysis of aerosol radiative forcing, feedbacks, and uncertainty.

 

Climate Change Debates: The Reading Course (E-PSCI 134)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Peter Huybers and Eli Tziperman
Spring 2018
Description: The atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is now the highest it has been in at least 800,000 years, raising concerns regarding possible future climate changes. This reading course will survey the science of global change from the perspective of scientific debates within the climate community. Specifically, the course will involve guided reading and discussion of papers that present contentious view points on the science of global change, with the goal of students learning how to scientifically evaluate such points of view. Students are given weekly writing assignments and need to prepare presentations and lead some of the weekly discussions. Prerequisite(s): Recommended: Applied Mathematics 21a, b or equivalent, or permission of instructor.


Climate Change Economics: Analysis and Decisions (FRSEMR 70E)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences – Freshman Seminar
Martin Weitzman
Spring 2019
Description: Climate change is one of the most difficult problems facing humanity. A small sample of questions to be asked and answers attempted in this seminar includes the following. How do we analyze and decide what to “do” about climate change? What are the basic “models” combining economics with climate science, what are these models telling us, and how do we choose among their varying messages? How are risk and uncertainty incorporated? How do we estimate future costs of carbon-light technologies? How do we quantify damages, including ecosystem damages? Who pays for what? Why are discounting and the choice of discount rate so critical to the analysis and what discount rate should we use? What is the “social cost of carbon” and how is it used? Which instruments (prices, quantities, standards, etc.) are available to control greenhouse gas emissions and what are the strengths and weaknesses of each? What is “climate sensitivity” and why is it, and the feedbacks it incorporates, so important? How should the possibility of catastrophic climate change be evaluated and incorporated? What are costs and benefits of geoengineering the planet to counter global warming? Why has climate change been characterized as “the biggest international market failure of all time” and how might the world resolve the associated free-rider problem? Course open to Freshman Students only.

Climate Dynamics

Faculty of Arts and Sciences   

Eli Tziperman

Spring 2019 

Description: The course covers climate dynamics and climate variability phenomena and mechanisms, and provides hands-on experience running and analyzing climate models, as well as using dynamical system theory tools. Among the subjects covered: energy balance and greenhouse effect, El Nino, thermohaline circulation, abrupt climate change, millennial variability (DO and Heinrich events), glacial-interglacial cycles, the ocean carbonate system and CO2 changes, warm past and future climates, and more.

 

Climate Solutions Living Lab (HLS 2921)
Harvard Law School
Wendy Jacobs
Spring 2019
Description: Cross-registrants from SEAS, GSD, HKS, SPH, HBS, and GSAS are encouraged to apply. Advanced students from multiple disciplines (law, business, engineering, economics, design, policy, public health) will together design and study practical solutions for reducing the use of fossil fuels in the U.S. and reducing emissions of potent greenhouse gases (GHGs) from a variety of activities other than generation of energy. The course emphasizes solutions to help low-income, under-served populations improve their living conditions with power generated by renewable sources of fuel as well as identifying innovative legal and financing pathways for such projects. In teams, we will scrutinize potential solutions from multiple perspectives (economic, technological, legal, health, etc.) for feasibility, scalability, replicability and impact (environmental, public health, social). Each team will develop a detailed implementation plan for one project. Students in this class will learn how projects proceed from concept through screening, design, financing, environmental review, challenges, and permitting. This course is practical, highly interactive, and hands-on. In addition to lectures and regular team meetings, there will be opportunities to meet with experts, including financiers, technology and renewable energy developers, government representatives, consultants, and leading corporations. For more information, including descriptions of past projects, see the Office for Sustainability website. Instructor permission is required. To apply, send a statement of interest and CV to Prof. Wendy Jacobs at wjacobs@law.harvard.edu. Application deadline is October 15, 2018.

 

Controversies in Climate, Energy, and the Media: Improving Public Communication (IGA 451M)
Harvard Kennedy School
Cristine Russell
Spring 2019
Description: The media play a unique role in shaping public understanding, policy, and political debate about controversial climate, energy, and environmental issues around the world. However, as mainstream news outlets shrink, the Internet provides a growing global megaphone for confusing and often contradictory information and misinformation. This course, taught by a longtime science journalist, is designed to help students navigate the rapidly changing media landscape, using examples from current global energy and environmental debates. Media topics include the national and global impact of Trump Administration policies; science and climate denialism; climate change and extreme weather; energy, climate and development; the future of fossil fuels, renewable energy and nuclear power; and the changing Arctic. Analyses of media coverage will examine how complex policy issues (involving environmental, health and economic risks/benefits) become polarized and how public communication could be improved. Increasingly, all professionals in the public and private sectors—by choice or necessity—need to become better communicators in conventional and social media. Practical communication, writing and media strategies/skills will include an op-ed, class blog and role-play exercise. Guest speakers add real-world perspectives. Lessons from this course apply readily to other public policy issues as well.

 

Earth Resources and the Environment

Faculty of Arts and Sciences   

John Shaw

Spring 2019 

Description: An overview of the Earth's energy and material resources, including conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons, nuclear fuels, alternative/renewable energy resources, metals, and other industrial materials. The course emphasizes the geologic and environmental factors that dictate the availability of these resources, the methods used to identify and exploit them, and the environmental impacts of these operations. Topics include: coal and acid rain; petroleum exploration, drilling, and production, shale gas/oil, photochemical smog, and oil spills; nuclear power and radioactive hazards; alternative energies (solar, hydroelectric, tidal, geothermal power), metals and mining.

 

Economic Analysis of Public Policy (B Section)
Harvard Kennedy School
Joseph Aldy
Spring 2019
Description: This course builds on API-101 to develop microeconomic tools of analysis for policy problems through various policy applications. The course is broadly focused on evaluating the rationale for government intervention in the economy and evaluating the efficiency, incentive,

The B section focuses on applications at the nexus of business and government, including energy policy, competition policy, environmental regulation, financial markets, labor markets, public health and safety, insurance markets, tax policy, and innovation policy.

Economics of Climate Change and Environmental Policy

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Harvard Kennedy School

Robert Stavins

Spring 2019

Description: Provides a survey, from the perspective of economics, of environmental and natural resource policy. Combines lectures on conceptual and methodological topics with examinations of public policy issues.

 

Energy Policy Analysis (API-164)
Harvard Kennedy School
Joseph Aldy
Spring 2019
Description: This course provides an overview of energy policy issues with an emphasis on the analysis necessary to frame, design, and evaluate policy remedies to energy problems. The course is offered in support of the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE) Graduate Consortium on Energy and Environment http://environment.harvard.edu/student-resources/graduate-consortium.

Energy Related Materials and Technologies

Faculty of Arts and Sciences   

Xin Li

Spring 2019 

Description: Graduate course.

 

Energy Resources and the Environment (SCIPHUNV 31)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
John Shaw
Spring 2019

Description: The course provides an overview of the energy resources that we use to sustain our global economies, and explores the impact of these activities on our environment. We address the full life cycle of each energy resource, including its origins, methods used to explore for and exploit it, how it is used in our economies, and the environmental impacts of these activities. Topics include coal, petroleum (conventional and unconventional), nuclear power, geothermal systems, and renewable energy options (hydro, tidal, solar, wind power). Lectures and labs will introduce students to data and methods used in these energy and environmental sectors.

Energy Technology (ENG-SCI 231)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Michael Aziz
Spring 2019
Description: Principles governing energy generation and interconversion. Current and projected world energy use. Selected important current and anticipated future technologies for energy generation, interconversion, storage, and end usage.

Environmental Law and Policy Clinic
Harvard Law School
Wendy Jacobs
Spring 2019 clinic (also offered in Fall 2018 and Winter 2019)
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 displacement, 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.

Ethics of Climate Change (Phil 24)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Lucas Stanczyk
Spring 2019
Description: How should governments respond to the problem of climate change? What should happen to the level of greenhouse gas emissions and how quickly? How much can the present generation be expected to sacrifice to improve conditions for future generations? How should the costs of mitigation and adaptation be apportioned between countries? Should significant funds be allocated to the study of geo-engineering? We will consider these and other questions in an effort to understand our responsibilities in respect of climate change, with a special focus on the structure of the analytical frameworks that have been dominant among policymakers.

Feeling the Heat? The Many Temperatures of Life in a Warming World (FRSEMR 51L)

Faculty of Arts and Sciences - Freshman Seminars     

Noel Holbrook

Spring 2019 

Description: From one’s first thought in the morning (“how hot will it be today?”), to a concern over the future of our climate (“how hot will it be in 2100?”), temperature is a ubiquitous topic in our lives. But what exactly does temperature measure? And of all the temperatures that one might define and measure, which are the important ones? In this seminar we will explore how organisms experience and respond to temperature, investigate the different modes by which plants and animals exchange thermal energy, and ask what strategies have evolved for thermal management. An important feature of temperature responses at any scale is that otherwise gradual changes can be punctuated by abrupt changes of state. This is true for as simple a system as pure water transitioning from solid to liquid to vapor, or as complex as a biome transitioning from forest to grassland to desert. Our goal is to develop, through reading, discussion, in-class experiments, and a field trip to the White Mountains, an “educated intuition” for how life responds to temperature in both predictable and unpredictable ways. Along the way we will touch on a broad array of topics, from human health to the growth of food crops, and consider how these might change as our planet warms. Course open to Freshman Students only.

 

The Fluid Earth: Oceans, Atmosphere, Climate, and Environment
Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Faculty TBA
Spring 2019
Description: This course introduces students to the fluid Earth, emphasizing Earth's weather and climate, the carbon cycle, and global environmental change. The physical concepts necessary for understanding the structure, motion and energy balance of the atmosphere, ocean, and cryosphere are covered first, and then these concepts are applied in exploring major earth processes. Examples from Earth's past history, on-going changes in the climate, and implications for the future are highlighted
.

Green Politics and Public Policy in a Global Age (DPI 345M)
Harvard Kennedy School
Muriel Rouyer
Spring 2019
Description: Environmental issues have become increasingly significant in democratic politics and are now a salient issue of global politics, with climate change occupying central stage today. This course focuses on the ways that different democratic polities are tackling green, global concerns, and climate action in particular. What is the role of political systems? What roles can markets and regulation play? At what scale (local, national, federal, or supranational) are green policies most effectively executed? What has been the role of international negotiations regarding environmental and climate action, particularly since the recent Paris agreement? This course will identify the political challenges and dilemmas posed by environmental policies in democracies, discuss the best policy tools in national, sub-national, and international contexts, and focus on the transnational venues of environmental activism and green policies that have developed recently around the world. Specific case studies will be developed in comparative perspective (such as renewable energy, green cities of the world) with regional insights (European Union, Americas, Asia, Africa…) and guest practitioners’ perspectives.

The Law and Policy of Climate Change: Influencing Decision Makers

Faculty of Arts and Sciences   

Aladdine Joroff

Spring 2019 

Description: Empirical data demonstrate that the climate is changing and that these changes could produce increasingly serious consequences over the course of this century. Governments and private actors around the world are strategizing, debating, lobbying, implementing, and defending mechanisms to both mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. This course will explore (i) the legal framework in which climate change action occurs in the United States, (ii) policy tools available to regulators, (iii) impacts on regulated entities and individuals and (iv) opportunities for private stakeholders to participate in and influence climate change decisions.

 

Management, Finance, and Regulation of Public Infrastructure in Developing Countries (DEV 209)
Harvard Kennedy School
Henry Lee
Spring 2019
Description: This course explores efforts to manage, finance, and regulate the transportation, water, sanitation, and energy infrastructure systems in developing countries. Issues to be discussed include public-private partnerships (PPPs), the fundamentals of project finance, contract and discretionary regulation, stakeholder involvement, and managing the political and strategic context in which infrastructure decisions are made. The course will rely on case material taken from infrastructure programs in developing countries, including Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Laos, Argentina, Chile, Lesotho, Uganda, Madagascar, and India, as well as some developed countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

Political Economy of the Environment

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Faculty TBA

Spring 2019

Description: This course will apply the tools of political economy to the study of environmental policymaking, both in the United States and around the world.  How are different interests represented in the creation and implementation of environmental policy?  What makes some countries more active on environmental issues?  When do businesses choose to support environmental action?  Why do some kinds of environmental problems seem easier to solve than others?  We will study these questions with a range of contemporary and historical case studies, drawing on both the academic literature and accounts from activists, lobbyists, and policymakers.

Undergraduate seminar.  Enrollment by lottery. 

 

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

State Energy Law
Harvard Law School
Ari Peskoe
Spring 2019
Description: States play a leading role in forging our nation's energy policy.  State regulatory authority over in-state activities is pervasive, from resource extraction to utility ratemaking.  This seminar offers an overview of core state functions, the legal questions they present, and the current policy debates and legal battles over the future of our energy sector.  Across all of these topics, we'll explore how state roles change over time, given federal action in this space, case law, and industry developments.  Topics will include: regulation of electric utilities; pipeline and infrastructure siting; renewable energy development policies; oil and gas production; and, regional and multi-state energy partnerships.

Survey of Energy Technology (ENG-SCI 229)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Michael Aziz
Spring 2019
Description:
Principles governing energy generation and interconversion. Current and projected world energy use. Selected important current and anticipated future technologies for energy generation, interconversion, storage, and end usage.

The Technology, Economics, and Public Policy of Renewable Energy (ESPP 90S)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
George Baker
Spring 2019
Description: Energy is the lifeblood of economic activity, and there is little prospect of this changing. However, the planet's stores of easily accessed fossil fuels are limited, and the climatological cost of continuing to rely on fossil fuels is high. This course examines the long run and short run prospects for renewable energy. We start by understanding the technology of hydro, solar, wind, and biomass. We then examine the economics of these technologies, and how subsidies and taxes affect their viability. Special attention will be paid to the interaction of technology, economics, and public policy.