ESPP Academic Year Courses


ESPP 77. Technology, Environment and Society
Course ID Number: 112610
Sheila Jasanoff
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.

ESPP 90G. The Law and Policy of Climate Change: Influencing Decision Makers

Course ID Number: 208113

Aladdine Joroff

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.


ESPP 90N. Addressing the Global Climate Crisis: Challenges for Both Developed and Developing Economies
Course ID Number: 123858
Michael B. McElroy
The seminar will discuss the nature of the climate challenge and the implications it poses for different communities and different parts of the world. Mitigating negative impacts of human induced climate change will require an urgent transition from the current global fossil fuel-based energy economy to one based on renewable alternatives. Possibilities include wind, solar, hydro, biomass and potentially nuclear. The seminar will review options with specific attention to differences in the challenges faced by developed economies such as the US and Europe and large developing economies such as China, India and parts of Africa. Can we chart a feasible path to net zero global carbon emissions by 2050?




ESPP 90E. Marine Conservation Biology
Course ID Number: 119814
Rus Hoelzel
The major goal of conservation biology is to preserve and recover genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity through evidence-based assessment, analysis, and management. This course will integrate evolutionary and ecological theory into resource management, economics, sociology, and political science to explore conservation strategies associated with habitat fragmentation and loss, exotic species invasions, over-harvesting and sustainable development, re-wilding, and other relevant topics across the ever-changing wildlife-human landscape relationship. State-of-the-art tools and methodologies will be introduced and showcased with real examples. Weekly classes will involve discussions of emerging conservation issues through the reading of research papers as well as hands-on learning of methodologies of conservation science through analysis of real data. Seminars and discussion forums with guest researchers and field trips with hands-on data collection will also be offered.


ESPP 90O. Climate (In)Justice
Course ID Number: 118736
Daniel Schrag 
“Climate justice” is an emerging mode for thinking about climate change, focusing on the ways that climate impacts and responsibilities are unevenly imposed on certain populations.  In this seminar, we will examine the concept of climate justice from a variety of perspectives.  We will start by focusing on international and economic dimensions, based on the simple truth that many people and nations will suffer damages despite their minimal contributions to global emissions.  We will then look at intergenerational justice, exploring the question of what ethical responsibilities exist to provide similar opportunities to future generations that we now enjoy.  We will also consider domestic aspects of climate justice, examining historical examples of racial and socioeconomic discrimination related to climate change.  Finally, we will consider the policy responses to climate injustice, exploring the different pathways for ensuring a more just and equitable future.


ESPP 90S. The Technology, Economics, and Public Policy of Renewable Energy
Course ID Number: 127572
George Baker
Energy is the lifeblood of economic activity, indeed of human society. 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 various renewables, including hydro, solar, wind, biomass, etc. We then examine the economics of these technologies, and how policies (subsidies, taxes, regulations) affect their viability. Special attention will be paid to the interaction of technology, economics, and public policy.


ESPP 173 Water Resources in Developing Countries

Course ID Number 219916
Ken Thomas
This course will examine major issues of water resources (i.e. water sources, supply, quality, treatment, use, distribution and storage, policy) in the developing world at various geographic locations and scales. Specific water resources issues will be highlighted through in-depth case studies from Africa, Asia, and Small Island Developing States. Analysis of the hydrological, technological, legal, and geopolitical factors that affect the availability of water for human consumption and agriculture will be explored in all cases. To understand fundamentals in the developing world context, the course will compare how water resources are managed in the developed and developing world. Fundamentals cut across water-related policies, water flows, water sources, water supply, water and wastewater treatment, water distribution, and water storage. The course will emphasize – both quantitatively and qualitatively – the real-world challenges and systemic issues of the developing world that make water resources planning and management complicated.