STEP Courses: 2010-2011
Eco 429: Issues in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (Spring)
This course uses the tools of economics to understand both the sources of, and the remedies to environmental and resource allocation problems. The course will emphasize the reoccurrence of economic phenomenon like public goods, externalities, market failure, inter-temporal optimization, and imperfect information. In addition, students will learn about the design and evaluation of environmental policy instruments, the political economy of environmental policy, and the valuation of environmental and natural resource services. These concepts will be illustrated in a variety of applications ranging from the domestic pollution of air, water, and land to international issues such as global warming, and sustainable development.
WWS556d Topics in IR: Protection Against Weapons of Mass Destruction (Spring)
Frank Von Hippel
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the only significant security threats to the U.S. and its allies have been from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Historically, the US focus has oscillated between protection via nonproliferation and disarmament agreements, and via civil and missile defense. The course assesses the threats, both approaches to protection, and linkages made between policies on WMD and perceptions of "conventional" military threats.
WWS 581c: Topics in Econ: Energy Economics (Fall)
This course examines the economics behind many issues related to energy use, including the investment and use of renewable and non-renewable resources, energy conservation, deregulation of energy markets, transportation, and energy independence. In addition to lectures on the economics of each of these subtopics, we will discuss current policy options.
WWS585b/MAE580 Topics in STEP: Living in a Greenhouse: Technology and Policy (Fall)
This course will focus primarily on the challenge of modifying the global energy system to reduce projected global carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. We will pursue both science/technology and policy in each of five two-week units. Unit One: The underlying carbon cycle science, and the ways the world has organized to learn more and to communicate results. Unit Two: Energy efficiency, patterns of demand, lifestyles, energy and poverty. Unit Three: Fossil fuels, abundance and depletion, energy security. Unit Four: Carbon capture and storage, policies enabling commercialization, risk assessment. Unit Five: Non-carbon energy in its two forms, nuclear power and renewable energy; subsidies, social preferences. The final two-week unit will be devoted to student reports. Cross-cutting themes include uncertain science, imperfectly discernible costs of future technologies, the limitations of quantification, and the necessity of muddling through.
WWS586b/EEB516 Topics in STEP: Conservation of Endangered Species and Ecosystems ( Spring)
Conservation of Endangered Species and Ecosystems This course examines the ways in which science has influenced public policy with respect to both endangered species and ecosystems. Important case studies from different regions of the United States are examined in detail, emphasizing the key scientific studies and how they affected decision-making. Topics include the northern spotted owl and the Clinton Administration's Northwest forest plan, the reintroduction of the gray wolf to Yellowstone National Park, and the conservation of endangered species on private lands.
WWS586d Topics in STEP: Global Environmental Governance ( Spring)
Examines international law and governance in the context of environmental problems, given the great variety of domestic approaches among nations, and the resulting challenge to global trade and regulatory regimes. Considers the need for regulation under conditions of scientific uncertainty in issues such as climate change, bovine growth hormones, GMOs, fisheries management, biodiversity conservation, and ozone depletion. Explores the efficacy of diverse regulatory approaches, mechanisms for scientific advice to policy makers and participation by business firms and NGOs. Considers intersections between environmental regulation (both domestic and international) with trade, investment, and multilateral development and aid programs. Class location alternates between NYU and WWS
WWS591e Policy Workshop: Opportunities for Rapid Reduction in Climate Forcing (Fall)
This workshop will explore options available to the U.S. government to reduce global climate forcing on relatively rapid timescales (a few years to a decade). These options may include regulatory measures or technology deployment initiatives that involve domestic action alone or require international coordination. Research funding and demonstration projects for initiatives at key junctures may also be considered. A report which considers a portfolio of options will be prepared. Efforts to distinguish between actions for which federal agencies, such as the EPA or DOE, already have authority, and those for which Congress would need to grant new authority will be made. Ways to monitor and evaluate policy effectiveness will also be explored. Clients for this workshop are the Department of Energy, Office of Policy and International Affairs, and the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of International Affairs.