Human Dimensions of Global Warming

Lesson 4 Reading Assignment


In the reading assigned this week, Pacala and Socolow (2004) demonstrate that we can "solve" the climate change problem for the next half century by implementing technologies that we already have today. The catch is that we need to apply these technologies quickly and massively, which requires the nations of the world to agree on energy policies –– without delay –– that might not be in their self-interest.

Reading Assignment

  • Pacala, S., & Socolow, R. (2004). Stabilization wedges: Solving the climate problem for the next 50 years with current technologies. Science, 305(5686), 968-972. doi:10.1126/science.1100103
  • Socolow, R. (2011). Wedges Reaffirmed. Retrieved September 14, 2017, from
  • Project Drawdown Electricity Sector Summary:
When reading the paper and article, pay careful attention to:
  • what the authors mean by "solving the climate problem";
  • how the concept of stabilization triangles works;
  • options stressing efficiency and conservation;
  • options stressing the decarbonization of electricity and fuels;
  • options stressing natural sinks;
  • the authors' conclusions.

*Students who register for this Penn State course gain access to assignments, all readings, and instructor feedback, and earn academic credit. Information about registering for this Penn State course is available through the Energy and Sustainability Policy Program Office.