InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Regulating Carbon Emissions
 Earth-focused Modules and Courses for the Undergraduate Classroom
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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The materials are free and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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Summary

In this 3+ week module, students will experience the integration of climate science, economics, and law in the formulation of federal policy to address climate change. The module is interdisciplinary and interactive. Students will use an educational, web-based Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy model (webDICE) to estimate the social costs of climate change and its abatement under different future emission scenarios. They will also play the Carbon Emissions Game to gain an understanding of the tradeoffs amongst different approaches to regulating carbon emissions. Upon completion, students will be able to explain the scientific evidence for man-made climate change from fossil fuel emissions, the policy options available for achieving emission reductions (e.g., emissions trading, carbon tax), and the legal basis for regulating carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. The module emphasizes the importance of systems thinking when seeking viable solutions to complex socio-environmental problems like climate change. The capstone assignment asks students to write an Op-Ed arguing for the need to regulate carbon emissions in a Role, Audience, Format, Topic (RAFT) writing exercise. This module promotes responsible stewardship of the Earth.

Strengths of the Module

Students who learn with this module will:

  • Connect the causes, effects, and potential solutions to climate change in a socio-environmental system analysis.
  • Run a global climate-economy model and interpret the output in terms of the social cost of carbon pollution.
  • Argue for policy action to curb climate change based on sound scientific and economic reasoning.

A great fit for courses in:

  • Climate Science
  • Climate and Society
  • Earth and Environmental Science
  • Energy Policy
  • Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Economics
  • Environmental Sociology
  • Environmental Studies
  • Global Change
  • Natural Resource Economics
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These materials have been reviewed for their alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards. At the top of each page, you can click on the NGSS logo to see the specific connections. Visit InTeGrate and the NGSS to learn more about the process of alignment and how to use InTeGrate materials to implement the NGSS.

NGSS in this Module

Students develop an understanding of the climate system, the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and people, and develop an understanding of how those impacts translate into social costs. Applying legal doctrine and economic thinking, students calculate efficient emissions targets and calculate appropriate costs for carbon emissions. After understanding the policy pros and cons of common emission reduction policy proposals, they write an Op-Ed piece to argue for their proposed solution using sound scientific, economic and policy reasoning.


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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »