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US Climate Policy, Politics, and Change

Course Description

This course should help those who believe that the United States must reduce its pollution responsible for climate change, despite the unfriendly administration and Congressional leaders.  The course will provide an overview of climate science and politics. Next, we will examine the “theories of change” concept, and identify new theories of change and their policies to reduce climate pollution.  Additionally, we will learn to design issue advocacy campaign plans that would create the political space essential to adopt these policies.

A theory of change is a method for planning and participating in actions designed to promote policies and other steps to achieve the social change outcome.  Under President Barack Obama, the climate action theory of change focused on supporting his administration’s implementation of climate action policies based on existing law (often called “executive authority”). 

President Donald J. Trump and his administration made it clear that it hopes to undo much of the previous administration’s progress.  Consequently, climate advocates must adopt a new theory of change, identify policies that reflect this change, and launch an issue campaign to make them into reality.  This class will focus on evaluating the different change theories, including reliance on states, businesses, or the courts to adopt climate pollution reduction policies.  We will design issue campaign plans to achieve them. 



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