John Chiang (Home Department: Geography) and Nathan Sayre (Home Department: Geography)
Tuesday and Thursday 12:30-2:00, 159 Mulford Hall (4 units), Class number: 30676

This lower-division course introduces global warming as both a scientific and social issue. We will introduce the physical science that sets the stage for the problem, from the basic concepts of climate (carbon cycle, greenhouse effect, climate feedbacks) through to the climate model projections of future climate changes and their impacts. Social scientific perspectives will be integrated throughout, including the history of climate science, the geographical and political-economic implications of fossil fuels and industrial production, and the challenges posed to existing regulatory and governance systems by the current and prospective impacts of global warming. Several guest lecturers will give in-depth reviews of specific topical issues, potential examples being climate models, carbon sequestration, and impacts on public health. We aim to provide students with a solid understanding and information base with which to analyze and evaluate ongoing developments and (often heated) debates surrounding global climate change.


This course may be used to satisfy the Physical Science or Social and Behavioral Sciences breadth requirement in Letters and Science.