Freshman Seminar on Climate Change: Paper Assignment

This freshman seminar is about the science of climate change. We will also have some discussion about the political and social consequences, and the solutions. One of your main activities in this seminar will be to write a paper on the subject of climate change.


Suggestions for topics for your paper

  1. What do you think yourself about the solutions to global warming? What steps do you think should be taken to reduce emissions, if any? How should nations attempt to reach an international agreement that can effectively reduce the emissions globally? What is the best way of persuading people to reduce their emissions? Should we encourage voluntary steps, or establish a carbon tax (that would tax gasoline, coal power plants, natural gas, etc.), or subsidize renewable energy, nuclear energy, carbon sequestration, or energy efficiency improvements? Or should we do nothing about the problem and wait to see if climate change really poses any threat? Which technology do you think is most promising for helping people and industries to reduce their emissions?

  2. You may interview some people (perhaps family, friends, students or faculty at the university...) to ask what they think about global warming and how should the problem be addressed. You can ask them questions like: do they think global warming and climate change is real? Are they concerned about it? Do they think something needs to be done about the problem? What changes in their lives would they be willing to accept for the purpose of reducing emissions? Then you can write a paper summarizing what you have learned about the views of other people, describing if you think they were well informed about the choices we face, if they changed their mind after hearing your opinion, and giving your own views on any needs you see for informing the public.

  3. Another project you could work on is to find out the greenhouse emissions that Ohio State University is responsible, through its coal power plant for heating and cooling, its electricity consumption, and its agricultural activities. I can organize a tour for students to the OSU power plants, where some questions about that can be asked, and I can help you find the information from other people at OSU about the other emissions. You could write a paper summarizing what these emissions are, and what you think Ohio State University should do if it wanted to establish a plan for reducing its emissions. You could also discuss the views expressed by people at OSU who you have met to ask about the emissions on the solutions to global warming.

    • The paper is due Tuesday, March 9th.

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