Patrick Gurian's Webpage

ENVE 480: Science and Technology for Environmental Policy

Spring 2005 Lecture: Tuesday and Thursday, 12:30-1:50 p.m., Matheson 309
Instructor: Dr. Patrick Gurian, Alumni Engineering 270-K, 215-895-2889,
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 2-3 pm, and by appointment
Living in the Environment, G. Tyler Miller, course pack in bookstore, and materials on electronic reserve
Course Overview
: In this class students learn how concepts from the physical sciences and engineering may be used to guide the formulation of appropriate environmental policies. This will be done through a series of case studies on topics including energy efficiency, global climate change, and drinking water quality. In each topic area, students will begin by identifying and learning the physics and chemistry underlying the environmental issues. Students will then use a number of analytic tools, including game theory, benefit-cost analysis, and adaptive regulatory strategies, to evaluate potential responses to these environmental challenges.

Assignments (Grading)

Reading: Students should read all assignments. In addition, each student should serve as lead discussant for one assignment during the course of the term.

Homework: Homework problems will be assigned periodically. Answers will be posted on the class website and students are expected to check their own work. Some exam questions will closely resemble homework problems. All students should have a Drexel email account and check it regularly. A Drexel email distribution list will be used rather than the WebCT message system.

Quizzes (30%): Exams will be given in class on April 14 and on May 17. They will be open-notes and open-book and will emphasize homework problems and questions requiring students to interpret the reading.

Projects (30%): Students will work in teams of two or three to complete two short projects on topics assigned by the instructor. Groups will be formed by the instructors, although substantively-based student requests will be considered if submitted in a timely fashion. Both projects will have brief written reports and class presentations. Evaluation by group members will also constitute a portion of the project grade. Late submissions lose 3% per day late.

Final Exam (40%): The final exam will be cumulative but will emphasize material covered after the mid-term. It will be open book and open notes.

Tentative Schedule

Week Date Topic Reading
Week 1 March-29
L1: Energy Basics
Ch. 3.4, 3.7
L2: Discounting the Future
Ch. 17
Week 2 April-05
L3: Equivalent annual uniform cash flow
“New consumers: The influence of affluence on the environment.” Chapter 1 Guest Essay, available online.
L4: World energy use
Matt Savinar, J.D. Life after the oil crash.

Week 3

Practice problems and discussion:
Campbell, C.J. and Laherrere, J.H. (1998). The end of cheap oil. Scientific American, p 78-83.
The End of Oil?
Greene, D.L., Hopson, J.L. and Li, J. (2004). Running out of and into oil: analyzing global oil depletion and transition through 2050. TRB Annual Meeting CD-ROM.
Quiz (90 minutes, covers through April 7)
Week 4
L5: Fossil fuels and nuclear power,
Project Presentations
Week 5 April-26
L6: Economic costs, biofuels
Ch. 18
L7: Energy conservation, a market-based perspective, Renewables
Reread Savinar on conservation
Week 6 May-3
L8: Taxes and subsidies: market-based perspective,
Wicks and Lovins
L9: Infrastructure alternatives, Radiation and the climate system
Ch 21
Week 7 May-10
L10: Global climate change
May-12 L11: Paleoclimate Covering the environment. Chapter 27, Guest Essay.
Week 8 May-17
Quiz 2, covers through May 10
Project 2 assignment and group formation
Week 9 May-24 L12: Kyoto : Too much, too little, or both? The diversity of perspectives on climate change. What can peer review do?

Crichton, M. (2003). Aliens Cause Global Warming. Caltech Michelin Lecture.

Saunders, D. J. Chills and Thrills. The Weekly Standard. Jan 3-10 (2005), p 34-35.

Robinson et al. “Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide”

May-26 L13: The Tragedy of the Commons: Societal collapse?, group meetings

Diamond, J. M. Lessons from environmental collapses of past societies. N.C.S.E. (2004)

“Before It's Too Late” Savodnik

Crichton, M. Let's stop scaring ourselves. Parade. Dec 5 (2004), p 6-7.

Week 10 May-31
Synthesis of presentations, review