Skip over navigation

STEP Courses: 2011-2012

graduate course listing

WWS 556d Topics in IR: Protection Against Weapons of Mass Destruction (Spring 2012)

Frank N. 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 Economics: Energy Economics (Fall 2011)

Amy B. Craft

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. Current policy options will be discussed.

WWS585b Topics in STEP: Living in a Greenhouse: Technology and Policy (Fall 2011)

Robert Socolow

This course will focus primarily on the challenge of modifying the global energy system to reduce projected global carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. Students pursue both science/technology and policy in each of five two-week units: 1)underlying carbon cycle science, ways the world has organized to learn more & to communicate results; 2) Energy efficiency, patterns of demand, lifestyles, energy & poverty; 3) Fossil fuels, abundance & depletion, energy security; 4) Carbon capture & storage, policies enabling commercialization, risk assessment; 5) Non-carbon energy in its two forms, nuclear power & renewable energy. Final two weeks are devoted to student reports

WWS586b/EEB516 Topics in STEP: Conservation of Endangered Species and Ecosystems (Spring 2012)

David Wilcove

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 2012)

Michael Oppenheimer

 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

WWS 591F Policy Workshop: Negotiating with Iran over its Nuclear Program (Fall 2010)

Frank von Hippel

Iran's secret uranium enrichment and heavy-water reactor programs were exposed to the world in August 2002. The purpose of this workshop will be to better understand the constraints imposed by the political systems in Teheran and Washington, as well as the perspectives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), other members of the P5+1 and Israel and to identify the misconceptions that may be making the diplomatic track less successful than it could be

WWS 593F Topics in Policy Analysis (Half-Term): Agriculture & Climate Change: Feeding a Hot & Hungry Planet (Fall 2010)

Timothy D. Searchinger

By some estimates, agriculture contributes 30% of world greenhouse gas emissions, including its role in tropical deforestation. Reducing these emissions while producing the additional food needed for an expected 9 billion people in 2050 represents one of the great challenges of our age. This concentrated half semester course will explore the sources of agricultural emissions, agriculture's role in shaping world land use, the locations and causes of world hunger, and technical and policy options for meeting this challenge

WWS594l The Political Economy of Global Energy (Spring 2012) session 2

G. Luciani

Economic growth requires constantly growing use of energy, the Middle East plays a vital role as exporters of hydrocarbons to the rest of the world. The course will cover: 1) Global energy demand and supply scenarios and the role of the Middle East; 2) The functioning of the global oil market and the potential role of major oil exporters; 3) The resource curse, economic diversification and the experience of the Gulf countries; 4) Oil, accountability and conflicts; 5) The global gas market and the role of Qatar; 6) Rational use of energy, renewable energy sources and nuclear energy.

WWS594o Risk Analysis (half term) Spring 2012 session 1

Amy Craft

WWS 594p: Policy Analysis (half term) Energy Environment and Development (Spring 2012) session 2


An interdisciplinary introduction to debates about energy, environment, and development. Some of the questions to be addressed are: Should one posit quantitative or qualitative limits to economic growth? What kinds of social change might be desirable or necessary to achieve a sustainable future? What role does energy play in improving the well-being of the poor and how does one ensure that this function is "optimized"? What are the roles for technology and consumption reduction in climate mitigation? How can we reduce pollution, environmental degradation, and human hardship due to the use of bio-fuels in cooking?