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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 
ECON 251. Natural Resources and Energy Economics (not offered in 2020-21)
LAW 2504. 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 (not offered in 2020-21)
CEE 263B. Numerical Weather Prediction (not offered in 2020-21)
CEE 278A. Air Pollution Fundamentals

Energy resources:

ANTHRO 302. History of Anthropological Theory, Ecology, and Environment (not offered in 2020-21)
BIO 209A. Building Blocks for Chronic Disease
CEE 207A. Understanding Energy
CEE 176B. 100% Clean, Renewable Energy and Storage for Everything
CEE 274P. Environmental Health Microbiology Lab (not offered in 2020-21)
CEE 275A. The California Coast: Science, Policy, and Law
EARTHSYS 111. Biology and Global Change
ECON 106. World Food Economy (not offered in 2020-21)
ECON 127. Economics of Health Improvement in Developing Countries
ECON 147. Economics of Labor Markets (not offered in 2020-21)
ENERGY 101. Energy and the Environment
ENERGY 102. Fundamentals of Renewable Power
ENERGY 104. Sustainable Energy for 9 Billion
HUMBIO 130. Human Nutrition
INTLPOL 266: Managing Nuclear Waste: Technical, Political and Organizational Challenges (not offered in 2020-21)
LAW 7001. Administrative Law
LAW 2505. Land Use Law (not offered in 2020-21)
MS&E 193/293. Technology and National Security
MS&E 201. Dynamic Systems
MS&E 211. Introduction to Optimization
MS&E 246. Financial Risk Analytics
MS&E 251. Stochastic Control (not offered in 2020-21)

Ocean resources:

BIOHOPK 263H. Oceanic Biology (not offered in 2020-21)
CEE 262D. Introduction to Physical Oceanography 
CEE 272. Coastal Contaminants

Water resources:

CEE 162E. Rivers, Streams, and Canals
CEE 166A. Watersheds and Hydrolic Processes and Models
CEE 166B. Water Resources and Hazards
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.