15.031J | Spring 2012 | Undergraduate

Energy Decisions, Markets, and Policies


All written work will be graded on the basis of mechanics (spelling and grammar), good argumentative writing skills (clarity, conciseness, effective use of evidence), and incorporation of the scholarly literature and valid data as grounds for your arguments. For all assignments, but especially for the final paper, you should cite readings from the syllabus and in-class activities, as well as external sources as necessary, in supporting your arguments.

Individual Reflection Paper on the Climate Game

Address the following questions and use them as a guide in writing your reflection paper:

  1. Reflect on the initial strategy your group took in the climate game. You may use the following questions to guide your reflection.
    1. Why did you choose this strategy?
    2. What assumptions and constraints did you work under? (Social, political, economic and geographic)
    3. How did your strategy translate into specific proposals?
  2. If your strategy changed over the course of the negotiation, explain those changes as well as what prompted them.
    1. If your strategy did not change, explain your rationale.
  3. What did you think of the negotiating stances of the other teams?
    1. Were their initial positions reasonable?
    2. Did their positions change during the negotiation?
      1. If so, did they become more or less reasonable? Why do you think they changed?
      2. If not, why do you think they didn’t change?
  4. Given the benefit of hindsight, what would you have done differently, if anything?
  5. What alternatives might you have wanted to see discussed or pursued in the negotiations that were either not on the table or not given positive reception?

Write a minimum of one and not more than two single-spaced pages to address the above points. Please don’t just give a blow-by-blow description of the negotiations.

The following data sets are the results from the in-class negotiations of the Climate Game. However, you can produce your own through the C-Learn Climate Simulation.

Wednesday (Lecture 7) ROUND 1, World 1

Developed 2020 2021 2% n.a. n.a 60B/year
Developing A 2050 2060 2% 0.1 0.9 n.a.
Less Developed B 2070 2100 1% 0.2 0.8 n.a.

Wednesday (Lecture 7) ROUND 1, World 2

Developed 2025 2035 0.5% n.a. n.a 50B/year


2020 2021 1.2% 0.6 0.4 n.a.
Less Developed B 2075 2080 1% 0.3 0.7 n.a.

Friday (Recitation 4) ROUND 1

US 2025 2025 1% n.a. n.a 60B/year

to China

EU 2020 2025 0.4% n.a. n.a. 30B/year
Other Developed 2025 2030 0.5% n.a. n.a. 10B/year
India 2035 2045 0.6% 0.8 0.2  
China 2045 2050 0.5% n.a. 0.1  
Other Developing 2050 2070 0.4% 0.5 0.5  

Friday (Recitation 4) ROUND 2

US 2020 2025 1% n.a. n.a TBD
EU 2017 2020 0.5% n.a. n.a. 40B/year
Other Developed 2020 2020 1% n.a. n.a. n.a.
India 2030 2035 0.8% 0.8 0.2  
China 2035 2035 0.5% n.a. 0.1  
Other Developing 2030 2060 0.4% 0.5 0.5  

Final Team Paper

Write an 8- to 12-page, single-spaced paper analyzing the forces that shape the development and adoption of a currently available technology (e.g., electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, smart electric metering, nuclear power, fracking). We expect you to:

  1. Analyze your technology from at least two social science perspectives (e.g., economics, history, sociology, political science) and two levels of social aggregation (i.e., individual, household, firm, nation or another level) identifying the various actors it may affect. We want you to identify possible consequences and concerns of your technology for the potentially affected actors and how you might address them (or not).
  2. Analyze the policy implications of the technology you have selected. What are the policy issues that determine how your technology has been and will be developed and deployed? How will these issues affect the impact (or lack thereof) of your technology on energy consumption, carbon emissions, and overall environmental impact? What are the obstacles to achieving a good solution in terms of energy use/environmental efficiency? How should we choose among possible policy alternatives and how might we overcome the obstacles you have identified?

Please carefully distinguish your normative assessment of your technology – and its development, adoption, and impact – from the “facts on the ground.” That is, we want you to define your criteria for assessing appropriate development and use. Specifically, you should distinguish your preferences (particularly, the grounds for your preferences and the choices you would make) from your account of the situation, relying on the best available evidence.

Specifics for the Detailed Outline

Prepare a one- to two-page account of the paper you plan to write. Include brief discussions of the following elements:

  1. the technology you will consider in the paper
  2. the forms of social science analysis (perspectives and levels of aggregation) you will employ
  3. the normative position you will take in assessing this technology (if you already know) and the supporting arguments and material for this position
  4. the data on which you plan to rely
  5. provide a summary paragraph and an outline of the paper
  6. a bibliography of at least 5 publications with full citations and abstracts, indicating how you plan to use them in your paper

List of Final Paper Deliverables

Team roster (3-4 students) and topic (technologies) 0%
Detailed outline 10%
Final paper 25%
Short oral presentation 5%
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