Fall 2009 Course Description

Politics and Process

Section Title: Environmental Policymaking
Instructor(s): Thomas Grimshaw
Course: P A 383C - Politics and Process
(previously Policy Development)
Unique Number: 62980
Day & Time: Mondays, 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Room: SRH 3.314
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information

This course fulfills requirements for the following specialization(s):

Description: Since the pivotal National Environmental Policy Act was enacted in 1970, environmental priorities in the US have waxed and waned as the nation's politics see-sawed with changes of administrations. After a decade of relatively low environmental priorities, the 2008 election saw a re-emergence of emphasis on environmental protection issues. The proactive environmental stance of the Obama administration indicates that future public policy will place a higher national priority on environmental protection.

This course will address the convergence of driving forces for environmental protection, including population growth, the demands and impacts of technological society, and critical environmental issues such as sustainability, global climate change, and the effects of globalization. Environmental policy will be defined, and its formulation will be articulated, to enhance student skills in dealing with this increasingly important policy area. The slate of involved parties international organizations, governments, private sector entities, and non-governmental organizations will be reviewed. Current US policymaking methods and infrastructure (Presidential initiatives, Congressional committees, existing body of legislation, environmental regulations, federal and state agencies) will be reviewed as the basis for guiding policymaking for environmental protection in the future. The technical basis for environmental protection in engineering and the natural sciences will be covered, but primary emphasis will be on the policy aspects of this complex and difficult global issue.

The course will include two or three informal oral reviews of selected readings by each student, a term paper and class presentation of the term paper, and a mid-term (but no final) exam.

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