Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
Courses
Zhaoqun Zou

Courses

Educating the next generation of environmental leaders is one of the many ways Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions helps bridge the gap between science and policy. Institute staff members are aiding in this mission by teaching courses across campus, as well as hosting policy boot camps and webinars, and other supplemental offerings. For more information on these courses, visit registrar.duke.edu.

Learn more about what the Nicholas Institute has to offer students and the larger Duke community: NI @ Duke

Spring 2021

Duke University

Climate Change and the Law
This 2-credit seminar will examine global climate change and the range of actual and potential responses by legal institutions – including at the international level, within the United States and other countries (such as Europe, China, and others), at the subnational level, and at the urging of the private sector. We will compare alternative approaches that have been or could be taken by legal systems to address climate change: the choice of policy instrument (e.g., emissions taxes, allowance trading, infrastructure programs, technology R&D, information disclosure, prescriptive regulation, carbon capture & storage, reducing deforestation, geoengineering, adaptation);  the spatial scale; the targets of the policy and criteria for deciding among these policy choices.  We will examine actual legal measures that have been adopted so far to manage climate change:  international agreements such as the Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992), its Kyoto Protocol (1997) and Paris Agreement (2015), plus related agreements like the Kigali Amendment (on HFCs) and ICAO (aviation) and IMO (shipping); as well as the policies undertaken by key national and subnational systems.  In the US, we will study national (federal) and subnational (state and local) policies, including EPA regulation under the Clean Air Act, other federal laws and policies relevant to climate change mitigation, state-level action by California, RGGI states, and North Carolina. We will also explore litigation involving tort/nuisance civil liability and the public trust doctrine to advance climate policy. (LAW 520 / ENVIRON 502; Wednesdays 2 - 3:50 p.m.)

Instructor: Kate Konschnik, Director, Climate and Energy Program; and Jonathan Wiener, William R. and Thomas L. Perkins Professor of Law, Professor of Environmental Policy, Professor of Public Policy

 

Managing the Oceans to Solve Global Problems

This course focuses on the importance of the oceans in addressing some of the central problems facing the world, including poverty, hunger, access to energy, climate change, and biodiversity loss. It introduces students to important laws and policies that make the resources and services provided by the ocean more resilient and sustainable. Students will emerge with a basic grasp of the principal legal and policy mechanisms that support reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the oceans and coasts through adaptation and marine resilience in the face of human drivers of change. The course explores such challenges as protecting corals, regulating fishing and pollution, and helping climate refugees. (ENVIRON 314; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12–1:15 p.m.)

Instructors: John Virdin, director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions; and Steve Roady, professor of the practice of law at Duke Law School, and faculty fellow at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

 

Clean Energy in Emerging Economies: Policy, Technology, and Business Models

This course is a deep dive into the challenges and opportunities facing low- and middle-income countries emerging from energy poverty. It’s a practical course that takes a comprehensive examination of the issues to build fluency with relevant aspects of technology, international development policy and development finance, social entrepreneurialism, and business plan development. Students will gain an understanding of the rapidly evolving off-grid and renewables space, how business models and government programming co-exist, and how the modern energy development sector can achieve its goals. Students will hone practical skills in finance, energy policy and regulatory analysis, and developing a business plan. (ENERGY 790; Wednesdays 12–1:15 p.m.)

Instructors: Jonathan Phillips, director, Energy Access Project; and Chris Wedding, executive in residence at the Fuqua School of Business and associate professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment.

 

Program Area Seminar – Water Resources Management
This course is intended to give students a first exposure to ideas of planning and management of organizations related to water resources. The course will develop a basic framework for strategic planning for environmental organizations with specific applications to water resources. It will provide some tools for forecasting future water conditions, as well as emerging tools for forecasting uncertain water conditions. Finally, it will expose students to approaches in water management, particularly adaptive management and scenario forecasting. (ENVIRON 898-04; Tuesdays, 5:15–6:30 p.m.)

Instructor: Martin Doyle, professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment, and director, Water Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

 

Environmental Litigation
This course provides insight into the procedural, substantive, and tactical considerations attendant to environmental litigation - from the perspectives of both plaintiffs and defendants. The course is based upon a hypothetical set of facts and an "administrative record" that summarizes certain government actions implicating various federal environmental statutes. (LAW 737; TBD)

Instructor: Steve Roady, professor of the practice of law at Duke Law School, and faculty fellow at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

 

Coastal Resilience in the Face of Climate Change
Recent hurricanes have highlighted the need for coastal communities to address a wide range of issues associated with climate change including increasing resilience when faced with storms and rising sea levels; information-gathering (maps, drones, and scientific research about coastal/ocean processes); law and policy refinements (statutes, regulations, and guidance); and the use of litigation to develop useful common law doctrines relevant to the tidelands and the public trust. Through the use of current cases and policy issues under debate, students will analyze relevant facts, laws, policies, socio-economic considerations, and local ordinances and prepare proposed solutions. (LAW 714; TBD) 

Instructor: Steve Roady, professor of the practice of law at Duke Law School, and faculty fellow at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

 

Climate Change Economics and Policy
Global climate change is thought by many to be the most significant environmental challenge of the 21st century. Unchecked, the continued accumulation of greenhouse gases over this century is projected to eventually warm the planet by about 3 to 8 Celsius (6 to 14 Fahrenheit), with associated impacts on the environment, economy, and society. Because the emissions of greenhouse gases result from virtually every kind of economic activity—driving a car, heating a home, operating a steel mill, raising pigs—any policy aimed at reducing emissions will have significant and broad-based impacts on the economy. This course will explore the economic characteristics of the climate change problem, assess national and international policy design and current implementation issues, and survey the economic tools necessary to evaluate climate change policies.  The course will be discussion-oriented and will require a high degree of participation by students in the classroom. (PUBPOL 585/ENV 640; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8–9:15 a.m.)

Instructor: Billy Pizer, faculty fellow at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy.

 

Public Economics
Application of microeconomics to government and public policy. Equity and efficiency of public policy. Cost-benefit analysis. Taxation, regulation, social insurance, provision of goods and services. Policies include minimum wage, excise taxes, bans, information, and regulation of utilities. Recommended prerequisite: intermediate microeconomics. (PUBPOL 811; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:15–11:30 a.m.)

Instructor: Billy Pizer, faculty fellow at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy.

 

Putting Ecosystem Services Markets into Practice
Ecosystem services, the benefits nature provides to people, are often undervalued. As a result, these benefits are being degraded or lost at a rapid pace. Through guest lectures and published and gray literature, this class will assess how environmental markets and trading can help society value ecosystem services and improve outcomes, as well as how markets can be detrimental to sustainability and conservation goals if not well designed and implemented. (ENVIRON 590.86; Fridays 1:45–3 p.m.)

Instructor: Lydia Olander, director of the Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, and Sara Mason, policy associate in the Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

 

Master's Project II

Emphasis on individual or group projects. Preparation for Master's Project. (PUBPOL 808)

Instructor: Jackson Ewing, senior fellow at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

 

Duke Kunshan University

Environmental Policy (DKU)

Instructor: Jackson Ewing, senior fellow at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

 

Fall 2020

Duke University

Energy Law
This course provides an introduction to U.S. energy law through the examination of the legal framework governing electricity production and the extraction and use of energy sources. It is designed to provide an overview of key topics in energy law so that students develop a foundational understanding of energy law and policy. (LAW 327) 

Instructor: Amy Pickle, director, State Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

 

Hydrology
An introduction to hydrology by examining how rainfall and snowmelt become streamflow, evapotranspiration, and groundwater with emphasis on hydrological processes inside watersheds. Topic areas include: hydrologic cycle and water balances, evapotranspiration and snow energy balances, vadose zone hydrology, hydrogeology, hyporheic zones, riparian zones, streamflow generation mechanisms, biogeochemical budgets, and field measurement techniques. Linkages between physical hydrology and broader ecological and environmental sciences will be highlighted. (EOS 723D) 

Instructor: Martin Doyle, professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment, and director, Water Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

 

Program Area Seminar – Water Resources Management
This course is intended to give students a first exposure to ideas of planning and management of organizations related to water resources. The course will develop a basic framework for strategic planning for environmental organizations with specific applications to water resources. It will provide some tools for forecasting future water conditions, as well as emerging tools for forecasting uncertain water conditions. Finally, it will expose students to approaches in water management, particularly adaptive management and scenario forecasting. (ENVIRON 898-04) 

Instructor: Martin Doyle, professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment, and director, Water Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

 

Summer 2020

Strategies for Energy, Water and Agriculture in Rural Ethiopia (Bass Connections)

The project team will fill critical knowledge gaps on the “productive use” landscape, including developing tools to identify hotspots for investment in technologies such as microgrids and solar-powered groundwater pumps to expand irrigation opportunities, and new business models for enhancing agricultural value chains in the presence of off-grid power sources. The project will support the development of a unified roadmap for integrated energy access with a focus on electrification in rural areas where agricultural production is the dominant source of income. The project is a partnership between the Energy Access Project at Duke, RTI International, and the Rocky Mountain Institute.

For complete information see this course on Bass Connections External link