thirty minutes ): discount rateparis accord particulates stabilization wedge carbon sink sovereigntya H u m a n i t i e s

thirty minutes ): discount rateparis accord particulates stabilization wedge carbon sink sovereigntya H u m a n i t i e s



Part One (choose six from the following list):

Choose six items from the list below. For each item, please (1) describe precisely what it is, and (2) explain its significance (e.g., what an institution does, what consequences it has for policy or for outcomes).




Massachusetts v. EPA policy feedback REDD
Anthropocene hydraulic fracturing Methane

“loss and damage” moral extension carbon tax

Part Two (choose one question, thirty minutes):

discount rate
Paris Accord Particulates stabilization wedge carbon sink sovereignty

A.B. 32
carbon leakage Green Climate Fund

1. It is January 2021, and the 117th United States Congress has entered its first session. You are an advisor to either (a) President Joe Biden or (b) Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D- CA) on energy and environmental policy. Your boss requests your advice about how to plan an initiative to address the greenhouse gas problem in the new Congress. Having

participated in the POSC 265gw National Challenge negotiations, you are now considered a national expert on the prospects for legislation.

In a memo, assess what form a viable bill is likely to take, how a coalition may be built around it, and whether any bill is likely to pass. In doing so, you will be expected to use results from the National Sustainability Challenge exercise, including comparisons of results from all of the four sections as well as from your own section.

Your memo should include:

(a) a package of specific measures, including an explanation of each measure.

(b) a discussion of the main sources of support for this package by party, regional interests, and organized business and other interests.

(c) an analysis of how what the main political obstacles are (including partisan differences, differences in regional interests, opposition from businesses, and ambivalence among the public) and whether and how these can be overcome.

(d) drawing on the variations in the outcomes of negotiations between different sections in this class (along with press reports and any other class materials), a discussion of how the outcomes could vary, and why.

2. You are advisor to the representative of one of major players (Brazil, China, EU, India, Japan, Russia, and the US) in negotiations for a global climate treaty to begin in 2020. Fortunately, having observed our Commons Game experiment and participated in the POSC 265gw Global Challenge simulation, you are now considered a national expert in global climate negotiations. Your nation has now turned to you for guidance about what course the negotiations will take over the next five years, and how to position your country in discussions about these negotiations.

Prepare a memo to your national leaders on the negotiations. Your memo should include:

(a) an overall assessment of whether an agreement will be possible.

(b) a summary of the main provisions likely to be part of a global agreement.

(c) an analysis of your country’s and the other main players’ interests in agreeing to or opposing these provisions, including discussion of the Climate Protection Game experiment as well as the Global Challenge negotiations.

(d) a recommended strategy for your country to build coalitions with other countries around those provisions that are in your country’s interests, including analysis of the interests other countries would have in joining with you.

(e) drawing on the variations in the outcomes of negotiations between different sections in this class (along with press reports and other class materials), a discussion of how the possible outcomes might vary, and what this variation depends upon.

Part Three:

At the personal, local, national and global levels, we have found different versions of Hardin’s tragedy of the commons. At each level, we have found different types of opportunities to mitigate human-induced climate change. Obstacles to collective action persist at each level, but the specific nature of these obstacles varies widely.

a. Briefly describe the scientific nature of the risks humanity and the planet face as a consequence of anthropogenic climate change. Does the current science justify action to fight climate change? Do cost- benefit analysis and the precautionary principle support such action?

Next, select two of the four levels we have focused on. Your answer should include the Challenge that you did NOT select in answering Part Two of this exam (i.e., the Global or National Challenge). Compare the nature of the challenge at each of the two levels selected, and the relation between them. Your analysis should include answers to the following questions.

b. How are the more general dilemmas of the tragedy of the commons reflected at each level? What specific kinds of measures can be undertaken to reduce greenhouse emissions at each level? What obstacles confront efforts to address the climate change issue at each? Is action at one level easier or more effective

than at the other? Why or why not?

c. How do the possibilities for meeting the challenge at each level depend in any way on action (or inaction) at the other level? How, for instance, does local action depend on global action? How might global action depend on local action? Give specific examples of what you mean.

Part Four:

Your final essay in the exam provides you with a chance to reflect on the Personal and Local Challenges and what you have learned from them. This essay should address the following questions:

a. What longer term changes have you have made as a result of the Personal Challenge to develop a more sustainable lifestyle? In what ways have you succeeded in reducing your greenhouse gas emissions?

b. What ways did you fall short of the ultimate goal of an 80 percent reduction in your carbon footprint? What changes proved more difficult (or impossible!)? Why?

c. What did the Local Challenge suggest about what changes at the community and local level can contribute to the necessary reductions? Discuss in relation to your own proposal and at least two others from classmates in your section.

d. What does your experience with both the Personal and the Local Challenge demonstrate about how difficult it will be for Americans to attain the reductions that will be necessary to address the greenhouse gas problem? What obstacles confront both personal and local action? How can those obstacles be overcome, or removed?