CSTPR has closed May 31, 2020: Therefore, this webpage will no longer be updated. Individual projects are or may still be ongoing however. Please contact CIRES should you have any questions.

Climate Politics & Science-Policy
ENVS 5100/GEOG 5100-06

Course Requirements


This is an upper division course so the reading schedule is demanding. It is important that everyone stay up to date with the readings and other expectations. All readings must be completed before the class for which they are assigned.

news/blog items (1 pt each over 13 weeks total) 13 pts
weekly reading responses (2 pts each over 13 weeks total) 26 pts
public talk written assignment 11 pts
individual project proposal 10 pts
individual project presentation 10 pts
final exam (a.k.a. individual project term paper) 30 pts
TOTAL: 100 pts


Attendance & Class Participation

It is important that everyone stay up to date with the readings, and complete them before the class for which they are assigned. Everyone is expected to attend all sessions and to engage critically with the readings and issues that are discussed.  Our discussions inevitably will build upon previous sessions.  Come to each class session ready to contribute with comments you have assembled based on the readings and the topics/issues they raise. Your participation is valued, and enhances class sessions.  I must note here that if you accumulate more than three unexcused absences during the semester, you will not be able to pass the course.

News/Blog Items (13 points)
Each of the thirteen noted weeks, bring to class a news or blog item related to the course content. We will begin each session with a short discussion of these items, tethering the conceptual frameworks and engagements to unfolding issues in the public arena. In addition, tweet these news/blog items by class time each of the noted weeks with the hashtag #climate5100

Weekly Reading Responses (26 points)
In the thirteen noted weeks below, course participants will provide two-page responses, including summaries and 3-4 discussion questions for the articles or chapters you pick. Approach each reading with a critical eye, and draw on your critical faculties over providing a mere summary/description of the content.  I will bring a sign-up sheet for these readings and summaries selections in the preceding week. Please circulate these summaries to the group in the text of the email and by attachment (in Word or PDF) via email at envs-geog5100@lists.colorado.edu by 10am Wednesdays (24 hours before our session).

Written Assignment (11 points)
For class in week 5, you will need to complete a public talk review with a limit of 1000 words. This means that the assignment must be clearly written and concise.

Sometime in the first five weeks of the term, attend a public lecture on a subject related to climate change politics and science-policy. Talks take place on campus and around the Boulder community nearly every day. I will announce some of these at the beginning of each class session – please also feel free to announce them at the beginning of class as well.

To help you engage critically with your chosen public talk, consider the following questions:

  • What happened? Was it well attended? Was/were the speaker(s) engaging?
  • What are the main points or themes raised by the speaker(s)?
  • How do their observations, comments, arguments compare/contrast with course material, your own ideas, or other information you have come across in the past?
  • Where are possible weaknesses in the author’s arguments?
  • Do you agree with the author’s central assertions, theories, ideas? If so, why? If not, why not?

Take an analytical approach: do not simply describe what happened. This is due in class, Thurs Feb 11.

Term Project: proposal, paper, and presentation
This term project is designed to so that all course participants can creatively and uniquely apply theoretical and conceptual frameworks discussed during the term to a contemporary climate politics and science-policy challenge. Week to week, draw on the readings and discussions to develop your term project. As such, the project is best considered as a term-long effort, rather than an end-of-April task. 

Project proposal (10 points)
By February 25 (week 7), you will need to select a topic on which to base your term project, and submit a project proposal in class. I encourage you to be very specific. These proposals will be limited to 3000 words (including annotated bibliography). You will need to include an annotated bibliography of at least 8 relevant readings that you plan to draw on for the term paper. Note your word count on the proposal you hand in.

Individual project term paper presentation (10 points)
Term project presentations will be delivered in our final session on Thursday, April 29 (week 16). Depending on the number of presentations, it will roughly follow a 10 minute presentation + 5 minute discussion/questions format.

Individual project term paper (a.k.a. final exam) (30 points)
The final exam will be the individual project term paper. The term paper will be due by the start of the final exam scheduled for our course, Monday, May 5th at 4:30pm. These term papers can be emailed to me (as a PDF or Word document). They should be approximately 8000 words (including references). Note your word count. At least 20 references will be needed to make this paper a success (up to 25% of the total references may be web-based).