2007 HONORS COURSES
HONR239A: Scientific and Social
Issues in Transformation to a Green Economy: It Isn’t Easy Being Green
Tu/Th. 12:30-1:45 PM
Dr. Jack Tossell, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
In January of 2007, a group of CEO’s from the chemical
and energy industries encouraged President Bush to respond more aggressively
to the threat of global warming. For a few years preceding, several
large chemical companies had focused attention on “green chemistry,”
a process for conserving resources and eliminating pollution before
it happens. More recently, several industries have focused upon the
idea of “sustainability,” using processes that cause minimum degradation
of the resources and environment of the Earth. The Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported in February of 2007 that global
climate change was already occurring and could have severe consequences.
In this course we will explore global climate change.
We will first focus upon the science involved and the role of specialist
climate scientists, the broader scientific community and policy makers
in drawing attention to this issue. We will then consider some of the
methods proposed for remediation of these problems. But such remediations
often prove difficult to implement. For example, William Clay Ford,
Jr., former CEO of Ford Motor Co. and an ardent environmentalist, proposed
in the 1990’s to create a “green” company but then focused on the sale
of minivan’s and SUV’s until sales for such vehicles fell in 2006. Our
considerations will involve both global, institutional components and
personal considerations. What impact will global climate change have
upon the way we perform in the future as citizens and professionals?
We hope to take advantage of the expertise available
at UMCP, including the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center
as well as the resources of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department.
We will attempt to develop a short lab component so that students can
experience a chemical laboratory in both traditional and green variants.
Grades will be determined on the basis of several problem
sets, two class presentations, and two papers.
The text will be Green Chemistry and the Ten Commandments
of Sustainability by Stanley Manahan, a prominent environmental chemist.
Other readings will be made available on a Blackboard web site and
CORE: Physical Sciences, non-lab [PS]