2011-12 Catalog

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Offering Description

Essentials of Energy: Economics, Politics, Ethics

Spring 2012 quarter

Howard Schwartz
Fields of Study
government and sustainability studies
Some college level work in history, politics, economics or environmental studies

Our interest in Essentials of Energy is learning about what it means to make the "right" energy choices. The first part of the course will cover the energy resources that are currently available. These include oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, and many kinds of renewable energy. We will study the availability of each (How much is there? How is it obtained? What does it cost?), their advantages and disadvantages, and their environmental consequences. We will then be in position to study policy: what mix of energy resources should we have? While we will look at the policies of other countries and the international politics of energy, our focus will be on current US policies and how to evaluate options for change. Since policy is created and implemented through politics we will then spend much of the class looking at how political and governmental institutions (and the cultures they are embedded in) produce energy policies. For the United States, we will focus on climate change and proposed responses to it. Internationally, we will look at various examples of "petropolitics" and the "resource curse," why countries that are rich in oil find it hard to use that wealth to modernize their economies or raise their citizens out of poverty.

Advertised Schedule
6-10p Thu
Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Offered During