Course Information

Marxe School of Public and International Affairs

Course Name: PAF 4199 (54476), Energy, Climate, and Society

Instructor: Gang He


Office Hours: Thu 1-3pm

Location: Online

Course Description

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. This course offers a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to understanding the science behind climate change, the complex technological and policy considerations, and the necessary pathways to transition towards a carbon-neutral future. Over the course of the semester, we will delve into the fundamental concepts of climate science and explore the latest research on climate change. We will also examine the various energy technologies available and the challenges of transitioning towards a sustainable energy system. In addition, we will explore the policy and economic considerations that underpin energy and climate policy, and the social and cultural dimensions of this complex issue. Ultimately, the goal of this class is to provide students with a broad understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with the energy and climate crisis. We hope to empower the students with the knowledge and skills needed to make a positive impact on climate solutions.

Learning Objectives

  • Acquire the knowledge about the scientific foundation, economic rationale, systems complexity, and policy implications of climate change, energy transition, and human society.
  • Identify the energy root of climate challenges, and the technology, economic, societal, behavioral transformation needed to enable an energy transition.
  • Apply energy project economic, energy system analysis, cost benefit analysis, life cycle analysis, and other analytical concepts in energy and climate systems and policy analysis.
  • Use evidence-based analysis to understand and contribute to effective policy discussion and debate.

Class Readings

This is a restricted list of various interesting and useful books that will be discussed during the course. You need to consult them occasionally, but they are optional.

  • Koomey, Jonathan, and Ian Monroe. 2022. Solving Climate Change: A Guide for Learners and Leaders. IOP Publishing.
  • MacKay, David JC. 2008. Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air. UIT Cambridge Ltd.
  • Readings and materials will be posted online.


Final grades will be calculated as follows:

Item Weight Notes
Weekly policy response 20 % 6 responses
Assignments 30 % 4 assignments
Project: Proposal 10 %
Project: Presentation 20 %
Project: Policy memo 20 %

Late submission: One point is subtracted for each 24-hour submitted late. One free late day is allowed of your choice.

Grading Scale

Grade Range Grade Range
A 93 - 100% C 73 - 76.99%
A- 90 - 92.99% C- 70 - 72.99%
B+ 87 - 89.99% D+ 67 - 69.99%
B 83 - 86.99% D 63 - 66.99%
B- 80 - 82.99% D- 60 - 62.99%
C+ 77 - 79.99% F < 60%