Courses: 2011-2012 Academic Year

Educating the next generation of environmental leaders is one of the many ways Duke's Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability helps bridge the gap between science and policy. During Duke's 2011-2012 academic year, staff members are aiding in this mission by teaching courses across campus. For more information on these courses, visit

Spring 2012

Current Issues in Energy Policy

The class will explore the current U.S. energy policy debate, building up the Nicholas Institute's ongoing research and stakeholder engagement. It will cover the recent history of federal energy policy, existing state and federal environmental regulations affecting energy production and consumption and new federal policy proposals that may emerge early in 2013. (ENVIRON 298.233)

Instructor: Jonas Monast, director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

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 ecosystem services can be detrimental to sustainability and conservation goals if not well designed and implemented. (ENVIRON 590.86)

Instructor: Lydia Olander, director of the Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Understanding Energy Models and Modeling

This graduate-level course aims to nurture basic modeling literacy by focusing on the "bottom-up" and "top-down" energy models commonly used for economic, environmental and technology assessments. Students will gain practical experience searching for relevant modeling data, constructing scenarios and running the NEMS energy model. Students will gain a working knowledge of NEMS and CGE model mechanics and experience asking the types of questions needed to evaluate the quality of modeling results. (ENVIRON 715L)

Instructors: Etan Gumerman, senior policy analyst at the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability, and Martin Ross, senior research economist at the Nicholas Institute and Tim Johnson of the Nicholas School of the Environment

Fall 2011

Energy, Environment and the Law

This graduate-level course examines the legal framework governing energy production and consumption in the United States, the major environmental issues associated with the nation’s energy sectors and policy approaches for balancing energy needs with environmental protection. It is cross-listed at Duke’s Law School and the Nicholas School of the Environment (LAW 243.01 and ENVIRON 298-115).

Instructor: Jonas Monast, Director of the Nicholas Institute’s Climate and Energy Program.

Sustainable Systems Theory & Drivers

In this course, students will explore the current drivers and implications of sustainable systems through group projects and in-class exercises—focusing on socio-metobolic consumption, sustainability as a field of inquiry, systems thinking, industrial ecology and earth systems engineering. This class is part of the Nicholas School of the Environment’s new graduate-level Certificate in Sustainable Systems Analysis.

Instructor: Jay Golden, Director of the Duke Center for Sustainability & Commerce at the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability. Golden is leading the new certificate.