EPIC is not a degree granting institution, but we are pleased to highlight a wide range of energy-related courses offered by the University of Chicago. Be advised that not all courses are offered each year in the quarter for which they are listed; students should check with individual departments to verify course schedules.
This course presents a broad based introduction to the theory and application of environmental economics. Topics are introduced in the context of real world environmental policy questions (with special emphasis on energy policy), then translated in to microeconomic theory to highlight the salient constraints and fundamental tradeoffs faced by policymakers. Topics include property rights, externalities, Pigouvian taxes, command and control regulation, cap and trade, valuation of environmental quality, cost benefit analysis, policymaking under uncertainty, and interregional competition.
This seminar is a practical introduction to the negotiation of international environmental agreements, with a focus on climate change. Students will learn about the cross-cutting features of international environmental agreements and, through the climate change lens, explore the process of negotiating such agreements, the development of national positions, the advocacy of positions internationally, and the many ways in which differences among negotiating countries are resolved. The seminar will also examine the history and substance of the climate change regime, including, inter alia, the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, and the Paris Agreement, concluded in December 2015. Grades will be based on class participation and a series of short reaction papers. With permission of the instructor, students may receive three credits for the seminar by writing an additional 10-12 page research paper.
The course objective is to introduce and familiarize the students with the analytical approaches and methods of environmental analysis and assessment used to support decision‑making and the development of policies and regulations at local, regional, national, and global scales. Beginning with the introduction of the “environment” as a complex system, an overview of the linkages among the various approaches for environmental analysis and assessment, and the discussion of climate change science as a complex system within the science-policy context, the course will then provide an introduction to pathway analysis of contaminant releases to the environment, and finally to lifecycle analysis as a method to assess energy, material inputs and environmental releases, and their impacts associated with all stages of a product/process’s life.
This course will emphasize the economics of natural resource production and problems associated with externalities and common property, with a focus on the energy sector. Most lectures will be theoretical in nature, but we will spend considerable time studying applications that have an empirical component. The course has several complementary objectives: (1) provide a solid foundation in concepts like Hotelling’s Rule and Pigouvian taxation that are a prerequisite for understanding modern environmental and resource economics; (2) develop proficiency with theoretical, computational, and empirical tools that will be valuable for future self-directed research; and (3) gain experience in reading, presenting, and discussing modern research in energy and environmental economics.
The concept of the Anthropocene introduces the idea of the human species as a geological agent, capable of altering the life supporting system of the whole planet through anthropogenic climate change. Paradoxically, the bad news of the Anthropocene is also a moment of intellectual exhilaration for the social sciences and humanities. The Anthropocene forces us to rethink some of the most fundamental concepts in scholarship, such as modernity, growth, justice, and scale in light of new pressing problems of carbon emissions, mitigation, and adaptation. We will approach these questions from a variety of perspectives, including ethics, history, science, and literature.