2018-2019 Academic Catalog 
    
    Feb 16, 2019  
2018-2019 Academic Catalog

IDCE 30325 - Controversial and Emerging Environmental Issues at the Science-Policy Interface


This graduate course examines cutting-edge and controversial environmental challenges situated at the nexus of environmental science and environmental policy. Through a series of in-depth case studies, each week we tackle a specific controversial or emerging environmental issue from two perspectives: (1) scientific evidence framing understanding of the issue and (2) policy implications and desirable countermeasures to tackle the issue. By combing both social science and natural science perspectives, we will tackle a broad array of emerging topics at the forefront of scientific understanding and policy action. Topics will include marine plastic waste, urban waste treatment options, nuclear energy and waste, carbon capture and storage, nitrogen use, pesticides (neonicitinoids and glyphosphates), GMOs, methane emissions in agriculture, gas fracking, and natural resource (fish stocks and water) management, and deforestation. We will examine each of these issues from a range of geographical scales and locations. Some cases will be centered on the USA (e.g gas fracking) whilst others will be focused globally (marine plastic waste and fishing stocks). Other cases will involve a multi-national comparison of policy responses (e.g. GMOs, pesticides etc.). Our study of scientific evidence shaping understanding of the nature and dangers of the environmental challenge will highlight scientific uncertainties. It will also contrast differing scientific conclusions regarding the same environmental phenomena. Our study of policy will scrutinize both existing policies in place to manage the specific problem, and new or additional policy actions required for further addressing the problem. This graduate course is of especially high relevance to Environmental Science and Policy students, or other graduates interested in gaining scientific and policy literacy in an array of cutting edge environmental challenges. ES&P major undergraduate enrolments will be considered after consultation with the instructor.

Anticipated Terms Offered: Varies