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Resources, Environment, and Energy Policy

Humans remain part of the natural world. Like all other species, we rely upon the resources of the planet to thrive, and we return our wastes to the same environment. The impact of human activity on local areas has always been obvious—uncoordinated exploitation of resources and discharge of waste progressively reduces human well being. Growing population and economic activity increase the potential gains from understanding and optimizing our relationship with the rest of the natural world.

The concentration in Resources, Environment, and Energy Policy provides Public Policy students with an opportunity to devote a year to intense study of what is known scientifically about the impact of human economic activity on the earth’s resources, and of alternative means to enhance human well-being through public measures designed to optimize resource use.

Perhaps the most powerful set of environmental policy tools are those that control the use of energy resources. The state of scientific and technological knowledge at any time in history, together with known energy resources, defines feasible energy choices. Uncoordinated individual decisions to exploit these choices can lead to patterns of energy use that are socially inefficient.

An example is the tendency of individual drivers to ignore their own contribution to air pollution when making a decision to drive, walk or bicycle. It is the task of public policy to prevent such outcomes by inducing decision-makers to take into account all the effects of particular energy choices. This is also true of other natural resources, such as land and water. Ultimately, systems that adjust individual and organizational incentives must be devised in order to bring incentives in line with the public interest as determined by policy makers. Effective implementation of energy and other environmental policy goals may require changes in law, tax policy, the provision of public services such as highways and mass transit, international treaties, and other policy tools.

Students completing this concentration have employment opportunities with local, state, federal, and international organizations and regulatory agencies and with the firms dealing with environmental, energy, and other natural resource issues, and with private firms interacting with such agencies and organizations, including consultancies.

The list of graduate level gateway and elective concentration courses may also be found in the Stanford Bulletin. Note that this is not an exhaustive list; students may select other courses for their concentration with the approval of their faculty adviser. 

Gateway Courses for Resources, Environment, and Energy Policy Concentration*

ECON 250. Environmental Economics (not offered in 2017-18)
ECON 251. Natural Resources and Energy Economics
LAW 2504 (formerly LAW 603). Environmental Law and Policy
MS&E 243. Energy and Environmental Policy Analysis

Students can select from the courses below to reach the minimum unit requirement:

Elective courses must constitute a coherent program of study, and be approved in advance by a member of the Public Policy affiliated-faculty and by the director of the program. The individual courses should be cumulative or complementary with respect to the student’s interests and/or career plan, which must be stated in writing prior to approval of the elective plan. 

Atmospheric resources:

CEE 172. Air Quality Management
CEE 263A. Air Pollution Modeling
CEE 263B. Numerical Weather Prediction (offered in alternate years, not offered in 2017-18)
CEE 278A. Air Pollution Physics and Chemistry
MS&E 294. Climate and Energy Policy

Energy resources:

ANTHRO 155. Demography and Life History Theory (not offered in 2017-18)
ANTHRO 162. Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Problems (not offered in 2017-18)
ANTHRO 302. History of Anthropological Theory, Ecology, and Environment (not offered in 2017-18)
BIO 209A. The Human Genome and Disease
CEE 171. Environmental Planning Methods
CEE 207A (formerly CEE 173A). Energy Resources: Fuels and Tools
CEE 176B. Electric Power: Renewables and Efficiency
CEE 274D. Pathogens and Disinfection
CEE 274P. Environmental Health Microbiology Lab (not offered in 2017-18)
CEE 275A. The California Coast: Science, Policy, and Law
EARTHSYS 111. Biology and Global Change
EARTHSYS 281. Urban Agriculture in the Developing World (not offered in 2017-18)
ECON 106. World Food Economy (not offered in 2017-18)
ECON 127. Economics of Health Improvement in Developing Countries
ECON 147. Economics of Human Resources
ENERGY 101. Energy and the Environment
ENERGY 102. Renewable Energy Sources and Greener Energy Processes
ENERGY 104. Sustainable Energy for 9 Billion
HUMBIO 130. Human Nutrition
IPS 266: Managing Nuclear Waste: Technical, Political and Organizational Challenges
LAW 7001 (formerly LAW 238). Administrative Law
LAW 2505 (formerly LAW 338). Land Use (not offered in 2017-18)
ME 370A. Energy Systems I: Thermodynamics
ME 370B. Energy Systems II. Modeling and Advanced Concepts
MS&E 193/293. Technology and National Security
MS&E 201. Dynamic Systems
MS&E 211. Linear and Non-Linear Optimization
MS&E 246. Game Theory with Engineering Applications
MS&E 251. Stochastic Control (not offered in 2017-18)
MS&E 294. Climate and Policy Analysis (offered in alternate years, not offered in 2017-18)

Ocean resources:

BIOHOPK 263H. Oceanic Biology
BIOHOPK 266H. Molecular Ecology (not offered in 2017-18)
BIOHOPK 272H. Marine Ecology
CEE 262D (formerly CEE 164). Introduction to Physical Oceanography (not offered in 2017-18)
CEE 272. Coastal Contaminants
HUMBIO 130. Human Nutrition

Water resources:

CEE 162E (formerly CEE 161A). Rivers, Streams, and Canals
CEE 166A. Watersheds and Wetlands
CEE 166B. Floods and Droughts, Dams and Aqueducts
CEE 262B. Transport and Mixing in Surface Water Flows
CEE 265A. Sustainable Water Resources Development
CEE 265D. Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries
CEE 271B. Environmental Biotechnology

*Gateway courses may vary year to year based on availability. Please review the Concentration Electives List for current gateway courses.