*FRSEMR 42H. U.S. Energy Policy and Climate Change

Burning fossil fuels has powered 150 years of unprecedented economic growth, but doing so has left a legacy of high and increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Those gases are changing our climate and thereby endanger human health, human welfare, and the earth’s ecosystems. To avoid the worst of those consequences requires decarbonizing the energy sector, but that task is massive and will require effective and efficient climate policy. Recently, U.S. energy and climate policy has been subject to wild swings, as Obama-era regulatory and subsidy policies designed to shift from fossil fuels to renewables have been replaced under the Trump administration by policies to promote and subsidize fossil fuel use and production. This seminar examines U.S. climate policy from economic, legal, and technological perspectives. The seminar starts with a review of the U.S. energy sector, climate science, and climate economics. The course then turns to current policy issues, including carbon pricing, the regulation of CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel fired power plants, the keep-it-in-the-ground movement, policies to promote new low-carbon technologies, and the Green New Deal. The seminar also examines subnational (state and local) and international climate policies.

Note: Course open to freshman students only.






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Freshman Seminars

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  • [Course titles in brackets] indicate that the course is not scheduled to be taught during the 2020-2021 academic year, but may be offered in an alternate year.
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Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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