How do we formulate fair, effective policies to protect the environment? Students will learn how environmental policy and regulation are formulated, with an emphasis on how to distinguish between valid scientific research and hype. Policy issues such as the precautionary principle, the cost-effectiveness of regulation, and the balance of stakeholder interests will be introduced. The use of modeling in the formulation of environmental policy will also be examined. The class pays particular attention to topical environmental issues. The class starts with short student presentations of environmental issues of personal concern. Throughout the class, students choose from topics of interest (e.g. toxins in the supply chain, improving air quality, environmental justice, etc.). Each topic includes a lecture, and then student groups will have the opportunity to develop presentations, improve their public speaking skills, and answer classmates' questions in a forum-like setting. This course will teach students the necessary skills to understand where facts stop and bias begins in everything from documentaries to news reports. The emphasis is on the environmental policies of the United States, but includes comparing and contrasting environmental policies in the United States, European Union, China, and some developing nations. Questions concerning the proper use of science and engineering, scientific and technical literacy in the public, and the impact of emotional reactions are also addressed. We explore current environmental policy and regulatory issues and discuss alternative models for formulation of policy. Nontechnical issues that affect the formation of regulations and policy, including political and economic forces, are also considered. The discussions often fundamentally change what students previously thought about environmental regulation, and spur more careful consideration of the news about environmental issues.
United States Environmental Policy: Past, Present and Future
Obviously, there are considerable political obstacles to implementing environmental policies in the United States and other countries. But there are clearly much bigger political obstacles to putting in place a new economic system.
NRDC: Environmental Laws and Treaties
Environmental Politics and Sustainability (XS) (SS) - This course examines the political forces and challenges to developing and adopting sustainable environmental policies in the United States. This course provides an overview of the U.S. political system, sustainability as a lens of inquiry, and the policy making process. What values do we want to sustain? Do environmental policies support these values? Specific policy areas examined include air, water, land, energy, waste, plant and animal life.
wildlife and plants in the United States and beyond