1. Course Structure/Operation

RES 500W Leading the way towards a low-carbon future (3) [3-0-0]

Examination of multidisciplinary aspects of how to move toward a low-carbon future. Understanding of climate science, policy, economics, technology and public engagement with the framework of systems thinking. Exploring deep decarbonization pathways for cities. Cultivation of personal disciplinary identity and one’s effort to social mobilization.

Pre-requisite: None


2. Course Overview

This interdisciplinary graduate course brings five guest public speakers to examine various aspects of issues related for society to move toward a low-carbon future. Climate science, carbon policy, climate justice, policy instruments, economics, carbon capture and conversion technologies, communication and public engagement are explored with the expertise in the field. Interdisciplinary student teams are tasked with producing a public scholarship piece. Students are exposure to actively learning about one’s own disciplinary lens, negotiating with other frameworks of knowledge and thinking and reflecting on one’s progress in learning.


3. Learning Outcomes

  • Identify connections between two or more disciplinary domains which pertain to low carbon pathway
  • Integrate conflicting disciplinary insights and viewpoints in formulating questions at public forum
  • Apply the multidisciplinary perspectives in producing a public scholarship activity
  • Formulate professional (informed scholarly) identity while interfacing with the public


4. Learning Activities

  • Reflective journaling with peer commentating and faculty feedback Create mobilization strategy for one’s own field or professional trajectory
    • Keeping track of each section every week
    • select 3 to be read/assessed
    • identify research questions/agenda missing from course/field
  • Curate questions at public forum
  • Participate in producing a public scholarship activity Write op-eds, podcast, etc. aiming for broad audience
  • Create an online resource (curated webpage) (peer critique)
  • Team project: Deep Decarbonization of Cities
  • Create 2 min video presentation to share with own discipline or general audience reflective of one’s professional identity


5. Class time

January 9 – April 3, 2017

Mondays: 1 – 4 pm

CHBE 102 (Chemical and Biological Engineering, 2360 East Mall)


6. Course Requirements

No pre-requisites.


7. Assessment / Evaluation, and Grading

  • Module quizzes 20%
  • Team public scholarship projects (op-ed; online resource; team project) 40%
  • Online reflection, blog posting, and 2 min video (within CONNECT) 20%
  • Class and public lecture participation 20%


8. Course Topics

  • State of the earth, environment and sustainability
  • Climate science
  • Science and open education; knowledge translation to policy decision making
  • Public perception of climate change and climate policy
  • Getting to 2C – wedges game
  • Climate justice
  • Climate and carbon policy
  • Market based policy instruments; international trade and carbon supply chains
  • System thinking and circular economy
  • Global energy markets and resource management; innovation in energy industry
  • Carbon capture and conversion technologies


9. Texts and Bibliography

No single textbook is assigned to this course.

Class meets once a week on Mondays. For each module, there are mandatory reading or viewing (web link) material posted on CONNECT.

Further suggested reading material is available on course website (CONNECT) through the online library reserve system.