Consultant, Environmental Planning, UK Department for International Development/World Bank, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
"The theoretical and practical training from BCEP was key to my entry into international development. My con-sulting assignments for international financial institutions vary from climate change planning to environmental impact mitigation to urban development in Latin America and East Africa - all have required a holistic approach and a firm grounding in understanding economic, political, technical and community angles to develop sustain-able solutions with government and donor clients."
Academic Calendar 2013–2014
August 23–25, 2013 Math and Science Refresher
August 26–30, 2013 Orientation and Workshops
September 2, 2013 Fall Semester Classes Begin
October 12–15, 2013 Fall Break
November 25–29, 2013 Fall Reading Week
December 16–19, 2013 Exams
January 13–24, 2014 January term
February 3, 2014 Spring Semester Classes Begin
March 24–28, 2014 Spring Reading Week
May 19–23, 2014 Exams and Master’s Presentations
May 24, 2014 Commencement
Climate Science and Policy Curriculum
The climate degree covers the interplay between climate systems, ecosystems, and agricultural systems on the one hand and solutions on the other, training future policy leaders to guide efforts in greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation. The first-year curriculum focuses on climate science, energy consumption, and the agriculture and ecosystem linkages to climate. It connects core scientific principles to socioeconomic impacts, infrastructure investment, and political and legislative responses to global climate change. Students are taught the basic concepts of environmental and natural resource economics, environmental policy, and detailed analyses of U.S. and international climate law and policy. The program focuses on the following broad themes: Curricular Themes Climate change science Energy systems and solutions Ecosystems and agriculture in the face of climate change Carbon markets and incentives Carbon sequestration and offset projects Global food security Regional impacts and adaptation strategies International negotiations and development Life-cycle analysis of energy sources U.S. legislative process and climate policy
This course begins with studies of Earth’s climate system and how it works across a range of scales of time and space. These include investigations of the circulations of the ocean and atmosphere and their dynamic interactions such as El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), monsoons, and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO); carbon and other biogeochemical cycles; radiation balance, the greenhouse effect, and other factors that force climate to change; and feedbacks in the climate system. Students further explore past climates and how they give us insight into our present predicament.
Fundamental understanding of the workings of the climate system and the science of climate change
Appreciation of the methods and rationale of science, importance of observations, and nature of evidence and scientific uncertainty
Ability to understand and synthesize papers from the primary scientific literature published in journals such as Science and Nature
Skill in critically thinking about scientific arguments
This course illustrates the connection between future climate change and greenhouse gas emissions and then explores emissions mitigation pathways and adaptation strategies, with an emphasis on energy systems. Students explore frameworks for climate change–prediction and –impacts assessment, from emissions scenarios to global climate models to integrated assessment models used by the international climate science and policy community. Participants utilize peer-reviewed literature from science, economic, and social science disciplines in critiquing the suite of climate change mitigation strategies discussed today.
General understanding of both fossil-based and renewable energy systems
Understanding of ways to minimize future climate change and distinguish between practical and unrealistic solutions
These courses focus on the legal, political, cultural, and ethical dimensions of the climate policy–making process. They provide an overview of basic concepts of environmental law, politics, and policy making used to analyze U.S. and international climate law and policy. Using a range of cases drawn from the United States and the global south, students evaluate climate change responses that include incentive-based regulatory approaches (cap-and-trade and cap-and-dividend systems with offsets and carbon taxes), command and control approaches, direct promotion of clean technology through regulation and subsidy, and voluntary agreements. Students examine critical issues of monitoring and enforcement, climate equity, and climate federalism, as well as the relationships among local, national, and international organizations.
Basic knowledge of qualitative policy analysis
Overview of international regime theory
Familiarity with key concepts and concrete policy instruments related to climate mitigation and adaptation
Integration of policy analysis with an understanding of technical and scientific solutions to climate change
These courses cover fundamental processes in ecosystems and agriculture, then investigate the interactions between these systems and climate, emphasizing the relationship between climate and food, fiber, and fuel production. The courses focus attention on greenhouse gas emissions and the possible roles of ecosystems and agriculture in mitigating climate change via greenhouse gas uptake and surface albedo modifications. Students end up with a firm understanding of both the theoretical foundations of agroecosystem-climate interactions and the applied policy context of carbon markets, offsets, and adaptation measures. Class lectures are complemented by field trips to experimental forests and farms.
Strong grasp of the quantitative tools used in the study of ecosystem ecology, as applied to natural systems and to agroecosystems
Appreciation for uncertainties, assumptions, and limitations of our knowledge of carbon and nutrient cycles and interactions with climate
Understanding of the use of process models in predicting system responses to climate change
Ability to read and understand the primary peer-reviewed literature in the fields of agroecosystem ecology and climate science and to analyze the policy implications of the science
These courses describe the conceptual framework and tools used by economists for environmental policy making. Students will understand and analyze the philosophical underpinnings of neoclassical economics, as well as its methodological toolkit. The goal is to understand how economists view environmental issues, and to develop a critical understanding and appreciation of their solutions to environmental problems. By the end of the year, students will be able to understand and critique the notion of economic efficiency, and understand the complexities and tradeoffs involved in making policy decisions. In addition to this intellectual advancement, students will also acquire professional skills used by policy makers today.
Use of logic to analyze claims made in the media and elsewhere
Use of real-world data to test and validate competing policy claims
Ability to calculate the time value of money, rates of return, and payback periods of different projects
Statistics and Econometrics (Fall) This course provides an introduction to the quantitative tools used for monitoring, analyzing data, evaluating the state of the environment, and developing policy. Through practical and real-world applications, students learn statistical and econometric methods that identify problem areas and measure the efficacy of policy tools. This course focuses on concepts underlying statistical methods, as well as problem solving, through the use of STATA, a popular statistical software package.
Ability to describe basic statistical concepts in simple English
Means to test simple hypotheses
Capacity to distinguish between correlation and causation
Facility to use STATA and run various regression models
Geographic Information Systems (Spring) Students explore the various spatial analysis methods used by scientists, planners, and public-policy makers to improve the understanding and management of our world. Students learn the fundamentals of modeling, data analysis, mapping, and conducting an environmental-impact assessment using geospatial technologies. Practical exercises relate to themes studied throughout the year. In this project-based class, students begin by learning the fundamentals of using spatial information, conducting spatial analysis, and producing and interpreting maps. In the second half of the course, they apply these skills to a team-based research project of their own design. The program culminates in a poster session, where the students show their work to their peers, professors in the program, and the greater Bard community.
Understanding of the current capabilities of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) science and its limitations
Application of the fundamental techniques of vector- and raster-based spatial analysis
Ability to use GIS software to produce high-quality cartographic products
Appreciation of how spatial analysis and mapping play a critical role in the creation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of environmental policy
J-term short courses take place during two weeks in January. These courses are designed for CEP graduate students and are open to the public for either a certificate or for credit. Past electives have covered the following topics:
Terra Preta to Commercial Product: Can we scale up Biochar?
Private Land Conservation: A Primer and Climate Change Consequences
Slow Water for Sustainable Development: Oaxaca
Private Land Conservation: A Primer, and The Role of Agriculture
Energy and Environment in Asia
Climate Finance: Theory and Practice
Only non-CEP students register for J-term courses. For more information, click here.