The 2013-14 membership of this committee has not yet been finalized. Complete membership information for 2013-14 will be posted as soon as it becomes available.
Faculty of the Committee on Degrees in Environmental Science and Public Policy
Other Faculty Offering Instruction in Environmental Science and Public PolicyThe Environmental Science and Public Policy concentration is overseen by a Standing Committee functioning as a Board of Tutors including representatives from several departments of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and from other schools as appropriate to ensure the requisite breadth of the program.
The concentration is designed to provide a multidisciplinary introduction to current problems of the environment. It is founded on the premise that the ability to form rational judgments concerning many of the complex challenges confronting society today involving the environment requires both an understanding of the underlying scientific and technical issues and an appreciation for the relevant economic, political, legal, historical, and ethical dimensions. It offers students an opportunity to specialize in a specific area of either natural or social science relating to the environment. All students have to satisfy a core of requirements in biology, chemistry, earth and planetary sciences, economics, government, and mathematics.
Primarily for UndergraduatesEnvironmental Science and Public Policy 10. Environmental Policy
Catalog Number: 6383 Enrollment: Limited to 40.
Half course (spring term). M., W., 2:30–4. EXAM GROUP: 7, 8
This course develops the concepts and skills needed to design effective public policy for managing interactions between environmental, social and economic systems. The course is organized around cases of real-world policy analysis, some from the US and some involving developing countries. We will examine the environmental, social and economic substance of the cases, the interests of stakeholders, the policy and political processes, the ways in which trade-offs are perceived and evaluated, and the outcomes and impacts.
Note: Intended for interested students from all concentrations.
Environmental Science and Public Policy 11. Sustainable Development - (New Course)
Catalog Number: 79625
William C. Clark (Kennedy School)
Half course (spring term). M., W., (F) Hours to be arranged, and one or two Friday field trips; section meetings on most Fridays.
Explores contemporary understandings and practical implications of the idea of sustainable development. Investigates the meanings and measures that different groups have given to "sustainable development;" scientific understanding of the complex social-environmental systems we seek to develop sustainably; and lessons on how societies have avoided the "tragedy of the commons" while instituting practical action that advances sustainable development effectively and equitably. Employs case studies in development to meet needs for energy, food, water and health.
Note: This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the General Education requirement for Societies of the World.*This course will be limited to 30 students.*
Environmental Science and Public Policy 44. Environmental Health Perspectives - (New Course)
Catalog Number: 51505
Chensheng Alex Lu (Public Health)
Half course (fall term). Tu., Th., 2:30–4.
This is a survey course designed to provide the foundations necessary to understand the basic concept of environ-mental health sciences with a global perspective. This course will introduce: 1) principle methodologies for environmental health science, 2) key environmental issues, 3) the impact to human health, 4) real-world environ-mental health research and its impacts. Various documentary films that address different global environmental health issues will be used to facilitate this course.
Prerequisite: LS 1 and PS 1
Environmental Science and Public Policy 77. Technology, Environment, and Society - (New Course)
Catalog Number: 11172
Sheila Jasanoff (Kennedy School)
Half course (fall term). M., W., (F.), at 10.
Our interactions with the natural world are increasingly mediated through changes in technology. Technologies create risks, generate solutions, reshape the environment, and alter our perception of the boundaries between nature and artifice. This course draws on major theories of technology and society to inform and deepen our understanding of environmental problems and policy options.
Note: Expected to be bracketed in 2014/15
Environmental Science and Public Policy 78. [Environmental Politics]
Catalog Number: 3613
Sheila Jasanoff (Kennedy School)
Half course (fall term). M., W., (F.), at 10. EXAM GROUP: 3
An introduction to the history, organization, goals, and ideals of environmental protection in America. Examines the shift 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.
Note: (To be offered in alternate years with ESPP 77) Expected to be given in 2014/15.
Environmental Science and Public Policy 90. Junior SeminarsEnrollment in these seminars is limited, with preference given to Environmental Science and Public Policy concentrators in their junior year. One junior seminar fulfills the junior seminar requirement for Environmental Science and Public Policy concentrators.
*Environmental Science and Public Policy 90a. [Energy, Technology, and the Environment]
Catalog Number: 2189
Michael B. McElroy
Half course (fall term). M., 1–4.
The seminar will provide an account of the technologies that shape our world with a perspective on how they evolved, the benefits that ensued and the environmental challenges that arose as a consequence. Topics include prospects for renewable energy and options to minimize damage from conventional sources of energy. Specific attention is directed to challenges faced by large developing economies emphasizing the need for a cooperative approach to ensure an equable, environmentally sustainable, global future.
Note: This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the Core area requirement for Science A.
*Environmental Science and Public Policy 90e. [Conservation Biology]
Catalog Number: 6879
Instructor to be determined
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
Conservation biology strives to describe, understand, and preserve biodiversity by applying ecological and evolutionary theory within the contexts of resource management, economics, sociology, and political science. This course will explore the moral and scientific motivations for preserving biodiversity and practice decision making under conflicting interests. Case studies will focus the examination of major contemporary issues in conservation biology such as endangered species protection and reintroduction, habitat fragmentation, over-harvesting of biological resources, exotic species invasions, and sustainable development. There will be local field trips within New England.
Note: Local field trips within New England to be arranged.
*Environmental Science and Public Policy 90j. Environmental Crises, Climate Change, and Population Flight
Catalog Number: 9841
Jennifer Leaning (Public Health) and James J. McCarthy
Half course (fall term). M., 2–4:30.
War, disaster, drought, or famine force people to flee their land. Climate change is contributing to many of these factors. The humanitarian consequences of population flight, including loss of place and livelihood, are filled with complexity, relating to the extent and permanence of environmental destruction wrought by these crises, peoples attachment to their homes and ecosystems, the circumstances of departure, the destinations of refuge, and the possibilities for return. These issues will be examined through case studies and review of literature on forced migration and calamity.
*Environmental Science and Public Policy 90n. Chinas Energy Economy: Perspectives from the Past: Challenges for the Future
Catalog Number: 8477
Michael B. McElroy and Xi Lu
Half course (fall term). W., 2:30–5.
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 Chinas future will be discussed, including opportunities for clean-coal technology, nuclear, wind, hydro, and biofuels. The seminar will discuss tradeoffs implicit in these choices with respect to reconciling competing goals for environmental protection and economic development.
*Environmental Science and Public Policy 90p. Biotechnology, Sustainability and Public Policy
Catalog Number: 62576
Calestous Juma (Kennedy School)
Half course (spring term). Th., 2:30–5.
This seminar examines the implications of biotechnology for sustainability. Using case studies, it focuses on policy approaches for maximizing the benefits of biotechnology and minimizing their risks. It addresses the following themes: (1) scientific and technological advances in biotechnology and sustainability; (2) social responses to the use of biotechnology; (3) application of biotechnology specific sectors such as agriculture; industry; energy; bioremediation and species conservation; (4) socio-economic impacts; and (5) policy and institutional considerations.
*Environmental Science and Public Policy 90s. The Technology, Economics, and Public Policy of Renewable Energy
Catalog Number: 53953 Enrollment: Limited to 50.
George Pierce Baker (Business School)
Half course (spring term). Th., 1–4.
Energy is the lifeblood of economic activity, and there is little prospect of this changing. However, the planets 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.
Note: This course will be offered in a seminar format with an enrollment limit of 50.
Prerequisite: Economics 10a.
Environmental Science and Public Policy 90t. Environmental Health: Your World and Your Life at Risk
Catalog Number: 40047
John Daniel Spengler (Public Health)
Half course (spring term). M., 2:30-5 with local field trips to be arranged.
Through the seminar course students will be introduced to ongoing environmental health research. They will read published articles and interview faculty. Studies will include birth outcomes and heavy metals; neurological and cognitive development in children exposed to lead; dietary interventions and pesticide exposure; asthma and public housing; air pollution and cardiovascular health; exposures and effects of plasticizers, flame retardants, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), bisphenol A (BPA) and other synthetic organic compounds; cell phone use and brain cancer; respiratory effects of biomass cooking and heat fuels on children and women; heat waves and heat stress mortality; and land-use factors and obesity.
Environmental Science and Public Policy 90v. Economic Evaluation of Environmental Regulation
Catalog Number: 74118
James K. Hammitt (Public Health)
Half course (fall term). Tu., 2:30–5.
What level of environmental protection is best? Stronger regulations provide greater protection against the target harm, but generally at the cost of reduced economic consumption or increases in other environmental harms. What principles can be used to determine the right level of protection, and how can regulations be evaluated? This course provides an introduction to environmental risk assessment and benefit-cost analysis of environmental regulation, incorporating theory and case studies.
Environmental Science and Public Policy 90w. European Environmental Challenges and Policies - (New Course)
Catalog Number: 19594
Half course (fall term). Hours to be arranged.
The seminar will explore current and future environmental challenges in Europe and related policies in the European Union (EU), starting with an introduction to the EUs institutions and environment. Specific challenges include climate change adaptation, mitigation (economic instruments and international negotiations), biodiversity and ecosystems preservation (economics of biodiversity) and energy. Specific policies include environmental justice (environmental inequalities), human development and environmental sustainability indicators ("beyond GDP"), decoupling (carbon intensity and resource productivity improvement) and green economy.
*Environmental Science and Public Policy 91r. Supervised Reading and Research
Catalog Number: 1705
Paul R. Moorcroft and Members of the Committee
Half course (fall term; repeated spring term). Hours to be arranged.
Supervised reading and research on topics not covered by regular courses of instruction. Students must complete a registration form, including permission from their faculty sponsor, with the concentration office before course enrollment. A final paper describing the research/reading completed during the term is due in duplicate to the Head Tutor on the first day of reading period.
Note: Intended for junior and senior concentrators in Environmental Science and Public Policy; open to sophomore concentrators only under exceptional circumstances. Permission of the Head Tutor is required for enrollment. May be counted for concentration only with the special permission of the Head Tutor.
*Environmental Science and Public Policy 99. Tutorial — Senior Year
Catalog Number: 5666
Paul R. Moorcroft and Members of the Committee
Full course. Hours to be arranged.
Research and writing of the senior thesis under faculty direction. Senior honors candidates must take at least one term of this course while writing a thesis. The signature of the faculty adviser is required.