The Energy-Climate Challenge

Fall 2020 Teaching Fellow - IGA 411

Course 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 essential environmental conditions and processes 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 and health science, energy-technology assessment, policy design, and domestic and global politics. The course covers four major themes: 1) An introduction to the energy–climate challenge; 2) Tools for understanding energy systems; 3) Technical options for a lower-carbon energy mix; and 4) Policies for a lower-carbon future. 

Energy and Climate: Vision for the Future

Spring 2017 Teaching Fellow - SPU25

Course Description: 

SPU 25 provides an historical account of the evolution of the modern energy system, from early dependence on human and animal power, to the subsequent use of wind and water, to more recent reliance on fossil fuels --- coal, oil and natural gas --- and even more recently to the development of the ability to tap the energy contained in the nucleus. It discusses the important historical advances in the applications of energy, notably in the production and distribution of electricity and in the transportation sector where oil-derived products provide the motive force for cars, trucks, trains, ships, and planes. It highlights the energy related problems we confront today, with particular emphasis on air pollution, on the threat of global climate change, on the hazards of nuclear proliferation, and on the risks to national security imposed by our increasing reliance on imported sources of oil. It concludes with a discussion of options for a more sustainable energy future.

China's Energy Economy: Perspectives from the Past: Challenges for the Future

Fall 2015 Teaching Fellow - ESPP90n

Course Description: 

The seminar will provide a historical perspective on the development of the Chinese economy with emphasis on the energy sector, including analysis of related environmental problems. Energy options available for China's future will be discussed, including opportunities for clean-coal technology, nuclear, wind, solar, hydro, and biofuels. The seminar will discuss tradeoffs implicit in these choices with respect to reconciling competing goals for environmental protection and economic development. The overall objective of the seminar will be to explore options for sustainable development of the Chinese society and economy over the next 35 years (2050) informed by plans for the more immediate future (2030).