Essentials of Energy: Economics, Politics, Ethics


Spring 2014 quarter

Taught by

Our interest in Essentials of Energy is learning about what it means to make the "right" energy choices. The first part of the course will cover the energy resources that are currently available. These include oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, and many kinds of renewable energy. We will study the availability of each (How much is there? How is it obtained? What does it cost?), their advantages and disadvantages, and their environmental consequences. We will then be in position to study policy: what mix of energy resources should we have? While we will look at the policies of other countries and the international politics of energy, our focus will be on current US policies and how to evaluate options for change. Since policy is created and implemented through politics we will then spend much of the class looking at how political and governmental institutions (and the cultures they are embedded in) produce energy policies. For the United States, we will focus on climate change, conservation and renewable energy. Internationally, we will look at how the international oil trade affects different countries in different ways.  For some countries oil enables modernizations and a rising standard of living while for other it is a "resource curse" which stifles development and enhances corruption.  

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

This course is designed to provide a foundation for students interested in future studies or careers in environmental science or advocacy, politics, economics, and public administration and public policy.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Evening

Advertised schedule: 6-10p Thu


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Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.


Date Revision
January 6th, 2014 Course added Jan 6, 2014.

Registration Information

Credits: 4 (Spring)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 24


Course Reference Number

(4 credits): 30315

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