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Regulating Carbon Emissions

Author(s): Robyn Smyth1, Sandra Penny2, Curt Gervich3, Gautam Sethi1, Eric Leibensperger3, Pinar Batur4

1. Bard College 2. Sage Colleges 3. SUNY Plattsburgh 4. Vassar College

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Learn how to incorporate these teaching materials into your class. Find out what's included with each module. Learn how it can be adapted to work in your classroom.

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0 - published on 12 Sep 2018 doi:10.25334/Q4299G - cite this


In this 3+ week module, students will experience the integration of climate science, economics, and law in the formulation of federal policy to address climate change. The module is interdisciplinary and interactive. Students will use an educational, web-based Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy model (webDICE) to estimate the social costs of climate change and its abatement under different future emission scenarios. They will also play the Carbon Emissions Game to gain an understanding of the tradeoffs amongst different approaches to regulating carbon emissions. Upon completion, students will be able to explain the scientific evidence for man-made climate change from fossil fuel emissions, the policy options available for achieving emission reductions (e.g., emissions trading, carbon tax), and the legal basis for regulating carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. The module emphasizes the importance of systems thinking when seeking viable solutions to complex socio-environmental problems like climate change. The capstone assignment asks students to write an Op-Ed arguing for the need to regulate carbon emissions in a Role, Audience, Format, Topic (RAFT) writing exercise. This module promotes responsible stewardship of the Earth.

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