The success of many environmental and energy-related policies depends on the support and cooperation of the public. This course, drawing from multiple fields of behavioral science, will examine the psychological and social aspects of different energy-related behaviors, ranging from household energy conservation to public support and opposition for emergent energy technologies (e.g., wind farms, fracking, etc.). Through a mix of lecture and discussion, we will explore questions such as: what are potential motivations and barriers – beyond financial considerations – to the uptake of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies? How can policies be designed to enhance adoption? Why is climate change such a divisive issue and what are the psychological barriers that prevent concerned people from acting? Why do people support clean energy broadly but object to developments when proposed in their own communities? By taking a behavioral approach, the course aims to equip students with an enhanced framework for evaluating energy and environmental policies that goes beyond traditional economic and regulatory perspectives. There are no prerequisites.
Tue Thu : 09:40 AM-11:00 AM