ESPP 90K. Applied Environmental Policy Analysis: Air Pollution, Solar Geoengineering and Environmental Justice


  • Professor: David Keith
  • Term: Fall 
  • Day: T
  • Time: 3:00pm-5:15PM
  • School: Faculty of Arts & Sciences
  • Course ID: 218597
  • Subject Area: Environmental Science & Public Policy

What makes good public policy analysis? Can analytic tools such as cost-benefit analysis help resolve environmental policy disputes? What are the limits to such tools? This seminar aims to teach the basics of public policy analysis applied to environmental problems through two case studies: air pollution and solar geoengineering research. The impacts of air pollution and climate change are unequally distributed, with the worst harms often falling on the poor and powerless. Environmental advocates, often conflate air pollution and greenhouse gases into an overarching concern for environmental justice. Yet practical policymaking must face tradeoffs between air quality, climate, and social justice. Students will work in pairs to explore these tradeoffs in policies such as solar subsidies for low-income residents. Solar geoengineering is fiercely disputed. It might reduce climate risks, yet it entails novel risks and raises concerns about environmental justice. Students will explore the establishment and governance of a solar geoengineering research program and asses the limits of policy analytic tools when applied to transformative technologies with deep uncertainty and global reach.