PUBPOL 871K Environmental Policy Analysis Graded by Prof. Dan GUTTMAN | Duke Kunshan University

As the 21st century proceeds, it is said that environmental limits to development will be the primary shaper of countries and their fortunes, and indeed the globe as a whole—with China (and India), with huge population and rapid development, and the U.S., with high per capita consumption, as keys to the future of the planet.

The question is whether environmental challenges will be left to accident and force or will be addressed by reflection and choice. This course will begin the process of teaching students to be policy analysts. It will introduce the role of policy analysis and policy analysts in bringing to bear reflection and choice.

The course will introduce the concept of policy analysis, and the special challenges posed by environmental policy analysis. These include the importance of translating core terms and concepts between cultures-such as China and the U.S.-so that policy analysts in differing countries can learn from one another’s experiences (“translating between operating systems or OS”) and cooperate in devising policies to address common challenges. 

In the context of “translating between OS,” the course will introduce common strategies, tools, and areas of expertise that policy analysts must understand. We will explore the common but differentiated constraints and enablers that policy analysis/analysts in any country face: government structures and traditions, laws and other rule sets, leaders, politics, bureaucracies, and the public. We will explore common challenges faced by environmental policy analysis/analysts-the necessity to make policies where facts and evidence may be limited, uncertain, and in dispute; the necessity to provide for crises whose likelihood is near certain but whose nature and time not sure; the necessity to choose among competing social values and choose among policies where harms and benefits may be differentially spread; and the necessity to ensure that policies are both implemented and have the intended effect(s) of sustaining and improving environmental quality and life.