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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Fall 2008

T C 357 • Global Warming: Science, Impacts, and Policy

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
43850 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
BIO 214

Course Description

"Global warming" is phrase regularly heard in the media, but few people really know what it means. Global warming stands out as one of the few issues where the strength of scientific consensus is neither understood nor accepted by a large portion of the general public and policy-makers. During the course of this class, you will learn the science behind climate change, and documented impacts of climate change on biodiversity, on human health, and on society in general. You will learn the realities of existing scientific debates, as well as policy debates, and how to distinguish the two.

Grading Policy

Writing assignment - scientific (4-10 pages single-spaced, two drafts) 50%
Seminar presentation 40%
Class participation 10%


Zinsser, On Writing Well: The Classic Guide To Writing Non-Fiction
Tufte, Visual & Statistical Thinking: Displays of Evidence for Making Decisions
Lovejoy & Hannah, Climate Change and Biological Diversity
Summary for Policy Makers from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007

About the Professor

Dr. Parmesan's research is on the impacts of current climate change on wild plants and animals, using a combination of field studies, experimentation, and analyses of global databases. Climate change research has immediate policy relevance, which has led to her testifying before the U.S. Congress. She has also been heavily involved at the international level in several reports, panels and workshops operating at the interface of science and policy. She has been an outside expert for international non-governmental organizations (such as IUCN, the National Wildlife Federation and the Nature Conservancy) to discuss the conservation implications of climate change, and prepare possible strategies for mitigation of future negative impacts on global biodiversity and preservation of rare and endangered species and ecosystems.


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