Help in Picking Our Energy Path
We have already seen in Unit 1 that energy is hugely valuable to us, that our current energy system is unsustainable and that burning most of the fossil fuels before we switch to a sustainable energy system would cause climate changes that make life much harder. In Unit 2, we saw that vast renewable resources exist, as well as other ways such as blocking the sun to deal with warming. Here in Unit 3, we will address whether we can afford to make the change, and how and why we might do so, by looking at the next three units listed below.
The unit consists of three modules:
- Economics (Module 10)
- Policy Options (Module 11)
- Ethical Issues (Module 12)
Video: Cell Phones and Science (4:14)
- Recognize the role of human actions in determining the future of our climate
- Explain scientific concepts in language non-scientists can understand
- Find reliable sources of information on the internet
- Use numerical tools and publicly available scientific data to demonstrate important concepts about the Earth, its climate, and resources
In order to reach these goals, the instructors have established the following objectives for student learning. In working through the modules within unit 3 students will be able to:
- Recognize that there is a cost to future society of emitting CO2 to the air today.
- Describe how one might balance immediate needs against protection from future losses.
- Explain why growth cannot be infinite in a world of finite resources.
- Use an Integrated Assessment Model to determine the most economically beneficial approach to dealing with emissions and climate change.
- Recognize the multitude of policy options available for our energy system and economy.
- Explain how the effectiveness of emissions treaties and carbon taxes can be verified internationally using remote data collection.
- Recognize that shifting gradually to renewable energy is likely to have little overall impact on employment rates.
- Recall that energy policies and subsidies have been in use for decades, and some of these have promoted fossil fuels over renewable resources.
- Research and evaluate an example of an energy subsidy reported by the IMF.
- Explain that decisions about energy and environment have important but very complicated ethical implications.
- Recognize that relying more on natural resources does not always correlate with greater wealth or higher quality of life.
- Recall that if we value our grandchildren's quality of life as much as we value our own, then it is worthwhile to do more now to avoid climate change.
- Assess what you have learned in Unit 3.
|10. Economics||DICE Model||Stella Model|
|11. Policy Options||Government Subsidies||Blog: Research and Report|
|12. Ethical Issues||Learning Outcomes Survey||Self-Assessment|