Back to home page

















University of Toronto Mississauga • Department of Geography • WINTER 2016

GGR 333H5F Energy and Society


 Instructor: Pierre Desrochers


 Lectures: Tuesday, 3-5PM


 Phone: (905) 828-5206

 Office: Davis Building, room 3273


 Lecture room: CC 2130





Course Description
Course Objectives
> Assignments
> Contacting the Instructor
> Tests
> Term Paper
> Department of Geography Late Assignment/Missed Test Policy
> Equity Statement and Academic Rights
Expectations/Classroom Behaviour/Behaviour in the Academic Setting
> Academic Integrity/Honesty or Academic Offenses
> Accessibility
> Accommodations for Religious Observances
> Recommendations & Suggestions
> Lecture Schedule

Lecture 1 (January 5): Introduction
> Lecture 2 (January 12): Concepts and the Big Picture
> Lecture 3 (January 19): Carbon-Fuelled Civilizations 1
> Lecture 4 (January 26): Carbon-Fuelled Civilizations 2
> Lecture 5 (February 2): Carbon-Fuelled Civilizations 3
> Lecture 6 (February 9): Term test - Questions
> February 16 - Reading Week
Lecture 7 (February 23): Electricity (Hydro and Nuclear)
> Lecture 8 (March 1): Electricity (Alternatives) and Biomass
> Lecture 9 (March 8): The Perennial Energy Debate
> Lecture 10 (March 15): The Curse of Natural Resources
> Lecture 11 (March 22): The Future of the Automobile
> Lecture 12 (March 29): Guest Lecture: TBA
> Suggested Readings


Course Description

The development of new energy sources has had a major impact on the development of both human societies and the environment. This course will provide a broad survey of past and current achievements, along with failures and controversies, regarding the use of various forms of energy. Understanding of technical terms, physical principles, creation of resources and trade-offs will be emphasized as a basis for discussions about energy options. The local and global dimensions of the economics and politics surrounding the world's energy resources will be recurring concerns in this course.


Course Objectives

The course has five main objectives:

1) To cover the basic physical, technical and economic issues related to energy use;
2) To cover broadly the history of energy development and use;
3) To introduce students to past debates and current controversies;
4) To memorize and use, without aids, the basic terminology with which professionals in relevant disciplines communicate their work and their research findings;
5) To apply a wide range of academic skills in active listening, note-taking, studying, reading, and test-taking to upper-level university courses.


There is no textbook or reading package for this class. Most of the readings are freely available on the web and links are provided on the course’s webpage. Suggested readings are not mandatory, but students who will write term papers on topics covered in these texts are expected to be familiar with them.

Most of the suggested readings are freely accessible from anywhere. Some of them, however, may require you to use a UofT terminal or user code.




1) Proposal for Term Paper
2) Term Test
3) Term Paper
4) Final Exam


January 26
February 9
April 4, 5PM
April 13, 1-3PM, Gym C

As per the University Grading Practices Policy, please note that "after the methods of evaluation have been made known, the instructor may not change them or their relative weight without the consent of at least a simple majority of the students enrolled in the course. Any changes shall be reported to the division or the department."

How to Query or Challenge a Mark

Please note that you have two weeks from the date an item is returned in class to ask for the item to be remarked. Contact the Course Instructor for all queries about course marks, or if you wish to challenge a mark. Absolutely no item will be remarked after the two-week period has passed. Material submitted for remarking must be accompanied by a brief written explanation detailing your reasons for dissatisfaction with the original mark (such as an addition error or something you think the marker may have missed). A request for a remark without a written explanation will not be acted upon.

Please note that you are allowed two questions where you and the instructor can agree to disagree (meaning you believe that you are entitled to a higher mark, but your instructor disagrees) without penalty. Beginning with the third question where you and your instructor disagree, one point will be taken off your final mark by question for which a revised mark was requested by you and denied by the instructor.

Contacting the instructor

Office hours are Tuesday 1-3PM, Davis 3273. You can contact me at

Please read the course syllabus before e-mailing a question or expect a one line answer telling you to look it up if the answer is already there.

Always use your University of Toronto e-mail address ( for all course-related communications. E-mails from other domains (e.g., hotmail, Rogers, gmail, yahoo, etc.) may be filtered as spam and will at any rate be ignored. Always include the course code (e.g., GGR333) as part of your subject line, along with your full name and student number in the body of the e-mail. E-mails will be answered during office hours as promptly as possible. Please note that I do not open attachments and will not answer during week-ends.

The first person that you should e-mail concerning department- or program-related queries or to submit documentation regarding a missed assignment, quiz, or test is the Academic Counsellor for Geography/Environment, Sabrina Ferrari (

E-mail should NOT be viewed as an alternative to meeting with the TA or professor during office hours. Nor should e-mail be used as a mechanism to receive private tutorials (especially prior to tests) or to explain material that was covered in missed lectures. Not receiving replies to e-mails from the TA or professor, or not receiving them in time, will not be an acceptable excuse for pleas for extensions to assignment or exam deadlines.

Students are advised to consult for information on university policy concerning the appropriate use of information and communication technology.

© PhD Comics


A set of questions will be given in advance. Students will be asked to answer a number of these during the test. Note that PowerPoint slides presented during the lectures WILL NOT be posted online. No documentation is allowed during the tests. UTM Final Exam Schedule


Term Paper

Students will be asked to write a 15 page essay on a topic of their choice. The essay can also be a 15 page review essay of a book dealing with topics covered in class. The choice of topic or book must be approved by the instructor. Team work is allowed for term papers, but not for book reviews. Papers should follow one of the Standard Documentation Formats.

The papers are due by April 4, 5 PM. There will be a drop-off box in front of Room Davis 3284.

Here are the detailed instructions to write your proposal and essay.

On the Art of Writing a Term Paper
Writing and Advice on Academic Writing at the University of Toronto.

Some additional advice from Professor Daniel Drezner (On writing a paper / On researching a paper) and Professor Steven Horwitz (Guide to Writing Formal Academic Papers).

Other useful links: UTM Library / Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre.

Your choice of topic or book must be approved by the instructor before turning in your proposal. Those of you who would like to submit a book suggestion are asked to provide a link to the publisher's webpage devoted to the book or, if no such thing exists, to the Amazon or another large bookseller webpage devoted to the book.

Please note that you do not need to submit your proposal or the appendixes of your term paper through

Note Concerning Turnitin

Normally, students will be required to submit written assignments to for a review of textual similarity and detection of possible plagiarism. In doing so, students will allow their assignments to be included as source documents in the reference database, where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. The terms that apply to the University's use of the service are described on the web site ( If you have an objection to the use of Turnitin for the submission of your work, please make an appointment to speak personally with the Course Instructor to discuss alternative arrangements. A guide for students is available from the University of Toronto's Office of Teaching Advancement, at: This information will also be made available on the course Blackboard site.

You are required to submit a hard copy of the assignment as instructed in the syllabus for the TAs to grade and annotate Electronic copies will be submitted by students through Turnitin.

> Basic steps for setting up your Turnitin account and submitting papers course ID: 10444980 (The password will be given in class and via e-mail.)

Please note that submitting your paper through or making alternative arrangements before the deadline with your professor is not optional. Failure to do so will result in a grade of 0 for your term paper. Failure to submit your paper on before the deadline will result in the same late penalty as if you had not submitted your hard copy.


Department of Geography Late assignment/Missed Test Policy

This is the departmental policy for late assignments and missed tests. Please note that the penalty related to your proposal is different. In this particular case, I apply my own policy as specified on the syllabus.

n-class or Online QUIZ/TESTS: Students CANNOT petition to re-write a quiz/test once the test has begun. If you are feeling ill, please do not start the online or in-class test and seek medical attention immediately. You must have a physician fill out a U of T Student Medical Certificate and submit a request via the online Special Consideration Request form @ within 24 hours.

Online Submissions for Term Work: It is every student’s responsibility to ensure that their online submission is submitted successfully by the due date. Accommodations will not be made for unsuccessful submissions due to, but not limited to, i) the system timing out ii) submitting the incorrect document(s) iii) poor internet connection / no internet connection etc.

Missed Term Work (Assignment/Lab - as per Department of Geography policy):
Late assignments will be subject to a late penalty of 10% per day (including weekends) of the total marks for the assignment. Assignments submitted five calendar days beyond the due date will be assigned a grade of zero.

Academic accommodation can be made when an assignment is late. For accommodations on late/missed assignments please see section on "Extension of Time".

Missed Term Work (Quiz/Test - as per Department of Geography policy):
In courses with final exams, there will be no re-writes or make-ups for term tests/quizzes missed for University-accepted, verifiable reasons. Instead, the final exam will be re-weighted by the value of the term test/quiz.

Requesting Academic Accommodation using the Online Special Consideration Request Application: In Geography and Environment courses, professors cannot grant extensions on term work or allow makeups for missed items. If you ask for and receive an extension or a makeup date directly from a professor, without following the appropriate steps as outlined in this document, it will be invalid and may be revoked at any time by the departmental petitions committee.

Students are responsible in ensuring strong reliable internet connection. Special consideration requests due to poor internet connection (ie. unable to complete online quiz / unable to submit assignment before deadline) will not be accepted.

Informing Your Professor and Submitting Appropriate Documentation:
The following steps must be completed in order to be considered for academic accommodation for any course work such as missed tests or late assignments:

1. Students must inform their professor in writing (e-mail is acceptable) within 24 hours of a test date/assignment due date of any circumstances that prevent them from writing a test or submitting an assignment on time.
2. Students must complete an online Special Consideration Request @ Students who miss a test due to circumstances beyond their control (e.g. illness or an accident) can request that the Department grant them special consideration. You must inform your instructor within 24 hours and you have up to one (1) week from the date of the missed test to submit your online request (late requests will NOT be considered without a "letter of explanation" as to why the request is late). You must present your case to the Department (not the Instructor). Note: The system only supports Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox for the time being.
3. Original supporting documentation (e.g. Verification of Student Illness or Injury form, accident report, etc) MUST BE SUBMITTED to the DROP BOX (labeled "Environment and Geography Petition Documentation") located outside Room 3282, Davis Building. Supporting documentation is required within 48 hours of submitting your online request.
Please Note: If you missed your test for a reason connected to your registered disability, please be advised that the department will accept documentation supplied by the UTM AccessAbility Resource Centre.
Note: (i) ROSI declarations are not accepted as supporting documentation.
(ii) If your reason for absence is due to a last minute flight due to a family emergency (illness/death etc.) you must provide your flight itinerary INCLUDING the date the flight was purchased as well as boarding passes in addition to proof of death/illness/accident.
4. Verification of Student Illness or Injury forms MUST include the statement "This Student was unable to write the test on date(s) for medical reasons". Documentation MUST show that the physician was consulted within ONE day of the test date. A statement merely confirming a report of illness made by the student is NOT acceptable (such as, "This patient tells me that he was feeling ill on that day."). Verification of Student Illness or Injury forms can be found on the Office of the Registrar's webpage (

Please complete the following:
- Special request link:
- Verification of Illness form:

Please note that the written explanation and documentation that you submit represents an appeal from you, requesting the opportunity to account for that portion of your grade in some other manner. If an appeal is not received, or if the appeal is deemed unacceptable, you will receive a grade of zero for the item you missed. If the appeal is granted - that is, your reason for missing the item is considered acceptable by the committee - then a mechanism for accounting for the grade value of the missed item will be discussed.

A Departmental committee evaluates each request. Decisions will be communicated by email within two weeks of receipt of all completed documents. Note: It is your responsibility to ensure your email account is working and able to receive emails. Claims that a Departmental decision was not received will NOT be considered as a reason for further consideration. Contact Sabrina Ferrari ( Academic Counselor, should you NOT receive notification of your decision within 2 weeks of submission.

Note that holidays and pre-purchased plane tickets, family plans, your friend's wedding, lack of preparation, or too many other tests are not acceptable excuses for missing a quiz, a test, or an item of term work.

Extension of Time
Students are expected to back up their work at all times. As such, extension requests due to computer issues (stolen, crashed, damaged etc.) will not be considered. The following steps must be completed in order to be considered for academic accommodation for any assignment extensions. Assignments handed in AFTER the work has been returned to the class cannot be marked for credit.

1. Students must inform their professor in writing (e-mail is acceptable) IN ADVANCE of an assignment due date of any circumstances that prevent them from submitting their assignment on time.
2. Students must complete an online Special Consideration Request @ IN ADVANCE of the assignment due date. Note: The system only supports Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox for the time being.
3. Original supporting documentation (e.g. Verification of Student Illness or Injury form, accident report, etc) MUST BE SUBMITTED to the DROP BOX (labeled "Environment and Geography Petition Documentation") located outside Room 3282, Davis Building. Supporting documentation is required within one (1) week of submitting your online request.
4. Verification of Student Illness or Injury forms: Documentation MUST show that the physician was consulted within ONE day of the assignment due date. A statement merely confirming a report of illness made by the student is NOT acceptable (such as, "This patient tells me that he was feeling ill on that day."). Verification of Student Illness or Injury forms can be found on the Office of the Registrar's webpage (

Original supporting documentation (e.g. Verification of Student Illness or Injury form, accident report, etc) MUST BE SUBMITTED to the DROP BOX (labeled "Environment and Geography Petition Documentation") located outside Room 3282, Davis Building. Note: ROSI declarations are not accepted as supporting documentation. You are expected to submit your request to the Department before the due date of the assignment, unless demonstrably serious reasons prevent you from doing so. In the event of an illness, if you are seeking a one-day extension, Verification of Student Illness or Injury forms must confirm that you were ill on the due date of the assignment; if you are requesting a longer extension, your documentation must specify exactly the length of the period during which you were unable to carry out your academic work. For extensions of time beyond the examination period you must submit a petition through the Office of the Registrar.

A Departmental committee evaluates each request for an extension of time. Decisions will be communicated by email within two weeks of receipt of all completed documents. Please note that students are required to submit their assignment/lab as soon as they are able and they should NOT wait for the decision of the committee. Note: It is your responsibility to ensure your email account is working and able to receive emails. Claims that a Departmental decision was not received will NOT be considered as a reason for further consideration. Contact Sabrina Ferrari ( Academic Counsellor, should you NOT receive notification of your decision within 2 weeks of submission.

It is your responsibility to follow the appropriate procedures and submit requests for special consideration on time. Failure to do so may result in the committee denying your request.
Should you require further information regarding Special Considerations, please contact the Academic Counselor, Sabrina Ferrari
Undergraduate Academic Counselor
Room 3282, Davis Building, Telephone: 905-828-5465

Equity Statement and Academic Rights

The University of Toronto is committed to equity and respect for diversity. All members of the learning environment in this course should strive to create an atmosphere of mutual respect. As a course instructor, I will neither condone nor tolerate behaviour that undermines the dignity or self-esteem of any individual in this course and wish to be alerted to any attempt to create an intimidating or hostile environment. It is our collective responsibility to create a space that is inclusive and welcomes discussion. Discrimination, harassment and hate speech will not be tolerated. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns you may contact the UTM Equity and Diversity officer at or the University of Toronto Mississauga Students' Union Vice President Equity at

Academic Rights

You, as a student at UTM, have the right to:
- Receive a syllabus by the first day of class.
- Rely upon a syllabus once a course is started. An instructor may only change marks' assignments by following the University Assessment and Grading Practices Policy provision 1.3.
- Refuse to use (you must be offered an alternative form of submission).
- Have access to your instructor for consultation during a course or follow up with the department chair if the instructor is unavailable.
- Ask the person who marked your term work for a re-evaluation if you feel it was not fairly graded. You have up to one month from the date of return of the item to inquire about the mark. If you are not satisfied with a re-evaluation, you may appeal to the instructor in charge of the course if the instructor did not mark the work. If your work is remarked, you must accept the resulting mark. You may only appeal a mark beyond the instructor if the term work was worth at least 20% of the course mark.
- Receive at least one significant mark (15% for H courses, 25% for Y courses) before the last day you can drop a course for H courses, and the last day of classes in the first week of January for Y courses taught in the Fall/Winter terms.
- Submit handwritten essays so long as they are neatly written.
- Have no assignment worth 100% of your final grade.
- Not have a term test worth 25% or more in the last two weeks of class.
- Retain intellectual property rights to your research.
- Receive all your assignments once graded.
- View your final exams. To see a final exam, you must submit an online Exam Reproduction Request within 6 months of the exam. There is a small non-refundable fee.
- Privacy of your final grades.
- Arrange for representation from Downtown Legal Services (DLS), a representative from the UTM Students' Union (UTMSU), and/or other forms of support if you are charged with an academic offence.

Expectations/Classroom Behaviour/Behaviour in the Academic Setting

Our expectation of you is that you will show respect to the Course Instructor, TAs, other faculty, staff, and fellow students. This includes arriving on time and staying for the entire class (so you don't disturb others by your late entry or early departure); listening quietly (so you don't disturb others by your chatting or online activities); approaching your course work with an open, honest spirit and enthusiasm; and otherwise adhering to the Code.

In turn, you can expect the Course Instructor, staff, and TAs to show respect to you and your fellow students; to deliver the best course that they possibly can; to communicate their enthusiasm for the material; to maintain fairness in all aspects of course delivery and assessment; and otherwise to adhere to the University's Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.

Academic Integrity/Honesty or Academic Offenses

It is your responsibility as a student at the University of Toronto to familiarize yourself with, and adhere to, both the Code of Student Conduct and the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.

This means, first and foremost, that you should read them carefully.

  • The Code of Student Conduct is available from the U of T Mississauga website (Registrar > Academic Calendar > Codes and Policies) or in your print version of the Academic Calendar.

  • The Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters is available from the U of T Mississauga website (Registrar > Academic Calendar > Codes and Policies) or in your print version of the Academic Calendar.

Another helpful document that you should read is How Not to Plagiarize, by M. Procter.

Further Thoughts on Academic Honesty:
The Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters states that:

"The University and its members have a responsibility to ensure that a climate that might encourage, or conditions that might enable, cheating, misrepresentation or unfairness not be tolerated. To this end all must acknowledge that seeking credit or other advantages by fraud or misrepresentation, or seeking to disadvantage others by disruptive behaviour is unacceptable, as is any dishonesty or unfairness in dealing with the work or record of a student." ―University of Toronto Mississauga Academic Calendar

This summarizes what we are all trying to achieve through the implementation of this Code―both students and faculty. We are trying―together―to create an atmosphere of fairness and honesty, in which people can learn and receive appropriate credit for work that they have done. Note that the Code refers specifically to expectations for faculty members, not just for students. It is my responsibility, as a member of the faculty of the University of Toronto, to be familiar with these expectations and adhere to them. There are many additional academic requirements that we are expected to meet with regard to the integrity of course materials, returning of marked work to students, maintenance of student privacy, fairness, grading practices, and others. My TAs and I will make every possible effort to meet these expectations.


U of T Mississauga and the AccessAbility Resource Centre are committed to the full participation of students with disabilities in all aspects of campus life. The AccessAbility Resource Centre provides academic accommodations and services to students who have a physical, sensory, or learning disability, mental health condition, acquired brain injury, or chronic health condition, be it visible or hidden. Students who have temporary disabilities (e.g., broken dominant arm) are also eligible to receive services. All interested students must have an intake interview with an advisor to discuss their individual needs.

Students who require accommodation are advised to visit the AccessAbility Resource Centre as early as possible to have their needs assessed, as it may take some time to process the application.

For more information please contact the centre at:
Room 2047, South Bldg.
Tel/TTY: 905-569-4699

For students who would like to help

Please note that the AccessAbility Resource Centre is looking for a volunteer note-taker to take notes on behalf of students with a disability registered in this class. Volunteer note-takers are responsible for submitting their notes to AccessAbility every week. The notes can be submitted online or scanned at the Centre. (The form can be downloaded at

Volunteer note-takers will receive a certificate of recognition and reference letter at the end of the year. If you are interested in this opportunity, please take a volunteer form and follow the instructions provided. If you have any questions, please call 905-828-5422, email, or drop by the Centre (room 2047, Davis Building).

Accomodations for Religious Observances

As noted in the the Policy on Scheduling of Classes and Examinations and Other Accommodations for Religious Observances, the following provisions are included:

"It is the policy of the University of Toronto to arrange reasonable accommodation of the needs of students who observe religious holy days other than those already accommodated by ordinary scheduling and statutory holidays.
Students have a responsibility to alert members of the teaching staff in a timely fashion to upcoming religious observances and anticipated absences. Instructors will make every reasonable effort to avoid scheduling tests, examinations or other compulsory activities at these times. If compulsory activities are unavoidable, every reasonable opportunity should be given to these students to make up work that they miss, particularly in courses involving laboratory work. When the scheduling of tests or examinations cannot be avoided, students should be informed of the procedure to be followed to arrange to write at an alternate time.

It is most important that no student be seriously disadvantaged because of her or his religious observances. However, in the scheduling of academic and other activities, it is also important to ensure that the accommodation of one group does not seriously disadvantage other groups within the University community."

With respect to minimum advance notice, the Policy provides that "Students have a responsibility to alert members of the teaching staff in a timely fashion to upcoming religious observances and anticipated absences." Since students would normally be aware of upcoming religious observances as well as examination schedules in advance, a minimum of three weeks advance notice will be considered sufficient.

More information and some dates of potential relevance for the U of T community are available at

As with any academic accommodation request, students must submit an on-line Special Consideration Request @

Recommandations & Suggestions

Suggested Scholarly Sources
Suggested Websites
Suggested Scholarly journals
Suggested Blogs

Lecture Schedule

Lecture 1 (January 5): Introduction
Lecture 2 (January 12): Concepts and the Big Picture
Lecture 3 (January 19): Carbon-Fuelled Civilizations 1
Lecture 4 (January 26): Carbon-Fuelled Civilizations 2 (Deadline for Proposal)
Lecture 5 (February 2): Carbon-Fuelled Civilizations 3
Lecture 6 (February 9): Term test  Questions
February 16: Reading Week
Lecture 7 (February 23): Electricity (Hydro and Nuclear)
Lecture 8 (March 1): Electricity (Alternatives) and Biomass
Lecture 9 (March 8): The Perennial Energy Debate
Lecture 10 (November 15): The Curse of Natural Resources
Lecture 11 (March 22): The Future of the Automobile
Lecture 12 (March 29): Guest Lecture: TBA
Final exam: TBA

Lecture 1 (January 5): Introduction

Mandatory videos


BP. 2015. Statistical Review of World Energy 2015 (Browse the rest of the webpage).

The Guardian. 2015. Why Fossil Fuels need to Stay in the Ground - A Video Explainer

Simplifilm. 2014. The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein Official Book Trailer

GatesNotes. 2014. Bjorn Lomborg: Fighting Poverty with Fossil Fuels (June 25). 

Mandatory readings


Familiarize yourself with energy glossaries and energy conversion tables

Canadian Geographic. Energy IQ. Canada's Energy Education Resource (Browse).

• Visions

Bradley Jr, Robert. 2010. "A Free Market Energy Vision." MasterResource, July 16.

Monbiot, George. 2011. "Let's face it: none of our environmental fixes break the planet-wrecking project." The Guardian, May 3.

Canadian Senate - Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. "Consensus Report Outlines An Energy Vision and Priorities For Canada's Energy Future." (July 19, 2012).

Coyne, Andrew. 2012. "Too much heat, too little light in talk of a ‘national energy strategy’." National Post (July 23).

The Leap Manifesto

McKibben, Bill. 2012. "Global Warming Terrifying New Math." Rolling Stone (July 19).

O'Neill, Brendan (2014/2009). "Hands off the Human Footprint!" Spiked! (December 17).

Green, Kenneth. 2014. "Anti-Energy Activists Don't Want to Talk About Energy Poverty." Huffington Post (July 30).

Epstein, Alex. 2015. "Carbon Week: The G7's Immoral No-carbon Pledge." National Post (June 16). 

• Challenges and trade-offs

Adams, Tom. 2012. "Review of Mad Like Tesla by Tyler Hamilton (ECW Press, 2011)."

Berkow, Jameson. 2012. "Transportation fuel shift stuck in slow lane." National Post (April 2).

Hall, James. 2011. "At least 2,700 a year die in freezing homes." The Telegraph, October 20.

Smil, V. 2011. "Global Energy: The Latest Infatuations." American Scientist 99:212-219.

Myers, Todd. 2015. "The Environmental Failure of 'Green' Schools." Wall Street Journal (November 17).

National Center for Policy Analysis. 2014. How Green Policies Hurt the Poor. (April 14).

Zubrin, Robert. 2014. "The Carbon Benefits Deniers." National Review (September 26). 

• Forecasts
International Energy Agency. 2015. World Energy Outlook 2015
- Press material

US Energy Information Administration (EIA). 2015. Annual Energy Outlook 2015
- Executive Summary

BP. 2015. Energy Outlook 2035
- Outlook in Brief 

ExxonMobil. 2015. The Outlook for Energy: A view to 2040, page 1

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). 2015. World Oil Outlook 2015
- Executive Summary

• Forecasting in retrospect
Bailey, Ronald. 2009. "How Green Is Your Crystal Ball? The National Academy of Sciences tries to predict America's energy future. Again.", August 4.

• Fossil Fuel Divestment Controversy
Rusbridger, Alan. 2015. "The Argument for Divesting from Fossil Fuels is becoming Overwhelming." The Guardian (March 16).
Epstein, Alex. 2015. "The Moral Case for Investing, not Divesting, in Fossil Fuels." Forbes (February 11). 

Suggested readings & links

Lecture 2 (January 12): Concepts and the Big Picture

Mandatory readings

• Big picture
Plumer, Brad. 2014. "11 Maps that Explain the US Energy System." Vox

Montreal Economic Institute. 2014. Canada's Energy Profile in 40 Questions.

EIA. 2015. "EIA's Mapping System Highlights Energy Infrastructure across the United States." Today in Energy (June 16).  

• Basic concepts

Bradley, Robert L and Richard W. Fulmer. Energy: The Master Resource, Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 2004, Chapter 1: The Basics and Chapter 3: Efficiency - Technical and Economic.

Huber, Peter. 2004. "The Virtue Of Waste." Forbes, December 13.

Huber, Peter. 2005. "Thermodynamics and Money." Forbes, May 31.

• Energy transitions
"Energy Overview." Institute for Energy Research.

Wrigley, Tony. 2011. "Opening Pandora’s box: A new look at the industrial revolution. " VOX, 22 July.

Ausubel, Jesse. 2000. "Where is Energy Going?," The Industrial Physicist 6(1): 16-19.

Bryce, Robert. 2010. "Wood to Coal to Oil to Natural Gas and Nuclear: The Slow Pace of Energy Transitions." Energy Tribune, August 16.

Grubler, Arnulf. 2013. "Energy Transitions." Encyclopedia of the Earth.

Cleveland, Cutler J. 2012. "Energy Transitions: Past and Future." Encyclopedia of the Earth.

Suggested readings & links

Lecture 3-4-5 (January 19 - February 2): Carbon-Fuelled Civilizations I-II-III

Mandatory videos


Tragedy of Open Access
The Place. 2015. "Tragedy of the Commons or The Problem with Open Access."

Carbon Fuels
- Overview
Alex Epstein. 2015. "Why You Should Love Fossil Fuels." PragerU (April 20). 

GatesNotes. 2014. Bjorn Lomborg: Saving Lives with Fossil Fuels (June 25).

- Canada
CBC. 2012. "The Oil Farmer." The National (October 22).

- Technical aspects
CN. Undated. "From Mine to Ship - The CN Coal Supply Chain." 

Mihir Naskar. 2014. "Tata Steel Coke, Sinter and Iron Making Process." (0:20-4:00). 

American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM).
"AFPM Presents American Refining."

"Petrochemicals Make 21st Century Products Possible."

Suncor. 2012. How Suncor Energy Gets Oil from Sand.

Cenovus Energy. 2011. Understanding Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage.

Exxon Mobil. "Hydraulic Fracturing : How it Works."

CN. Undated. "Frac Sand."

Making Coal Gas and Coke circa 1920s (Bray Pictures).

Huntley Film Archives. Gasworks, 1930's - Film 381

Mandatory readings


• World
- Global Picture
AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) and American Petroleum Institute. Science Net Links: Technology and Oil
- Adventures in Energy (browse)

Goklany, Indur. 2012. "Humanity Unbound: How Fossil Fuels Saved Humanity from Nature and Nature from Humanity." Cato Policy Analysis No. 715 (Executive Summary)

- Fire and Deforestation

Cowen, Richard. Essays on Geology, History and People. (Under contract with Johns Hopkins University Press), Ch. 3 ("Fire and Metals"), Ch. 4 ("The Bronze Age") and Ch. 11 (“Timber Crisis”).

McKenna, Philip. 2013. "Inside North Korea's Environmental Collapse." Nova Next (March 6).

Veer, P. G. 2015. "Earth Day Heroes: Top 10 Countries With The Lowest Carbon Emissions." Daily Caller (April 21).

Forbes, Viv. 2015. "Climate Alarmists Turn Back the Clock." American Thinker (January 6).

- From Whale Oil to Manufactured Gas
“Whale Oil” on the Oil History Website by Samuel T. Pees.

“Fossil Fuels.” Environmental Literacy Council.

Ostrom, Elinor. 2010. "Tragedy of the Commons." The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics Online.

- Coal
“Coal.” Environmental Literacy Council

Coal Basics — Coal Association of Canada

BP. 2015. Statistical Review of World Energy 2015. "Coal"

Mann, Charles C. 2014. "Renewables aren't Enough. Clean Coal is the Future." Wired (March 25).

Sharma, Sadhvi. 2015. "India is Right : Coal Makes the World Go Round." Spiked! (December 3).

Pearson, Brendan and Michael Roche. 2015. "Global Coal Use Growing Faster Than Any Other Energy." The Australian (June 16).

"Coal." Institute for Energy Research.

"International Coal Trade." Euracoal (2012).

US Energy Information Administration. 2011. "Asia Leads Growth in Global Coal Production since 1980." Today in Energy (December 7). 

- Oil
- The Classification of Petroleum
- API Gravity
- Sweet Vs Sour Crude Oil
- Benchmark Oils

“Petroleum.” Environmental Literacy Council.

"Petroleum (Oil)." Institute for Energy Research.

BP. 2015. Statistical Review of World Energy 2015. "Oil." 

“Petroleum and Petrochemical Technologies Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century. National Academy of Engineering. 2000.

"The unsung masters of the oil industry." The Economist, July 21, 2012.

- Tight Oil
Casselman, Ben. 2010. "Oil Industry Booms - in North Dakota." The Wall Street Journal, January 26.

Wile, Rob. 2012. "The Most Profitable Oil Field In The World Is Right Here In America." Business Insider, December 4.

Mills, Mark. P. 2016. "After the Carnage, Shale will Rise Again - Vast swaths of shale will be profitable with oil at about $40 a barrel, and the nimble industry is ready." The Wall Street Journal (January 16) (Access it through the UofT library website).

- Oil Transport
Stopford, Martin. 2011. "An Anniversary - 150 Years of Oil Transport by Sea." Shipping Intelligence Network (November 18).

"Tanker Types." 

Stena Bulk. Type of Vessels

Land "Pipeline Transport"

Furchtgott-Roth, Diana. 2013. "Pipelines are Safest for Transportation of Oil and Gas." Manhattan Institute Issue Brief No. 23 (June).

Green, Kenneth P. 2013. "Canada Should Take to Oil Pipeline Safety." Huffington Post Canada (October 31).

Green, Kenneth P. 2014. "Flash Point: New Oil-by-Rail Rules." The American (August 20). 

Palen, Wendy J. et al. 2014. "Energy: Consider the Global Impacts of Oil Pipelines." Nature (June 25). 

- Refining and Petrochemicals
Canadian Fuels Association. Fuels Production - How Refining Works

American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers. "Petrochemicals."

- Global Picture
AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) and American Petroleum Institute. Science Net Links: Technology and Oil
- Oil Refining: A Closer Look

- Crude Oil and Refined Petroleum Markets
US EIA. "What Drives Crude Oil Prices?"

Blackmon, David. 2013. "Texas Amazing Shale Oil and Gas Abundance." Forbes (July 5).

Fuel Prices
Canadian Fuels Association, Fuel Markets and Pricing
- What's up with the price of gasoline?
- Canada/U.S. Price Component Comparison

The Kent Group, Trend of retail price components over time
- Monthly Analysis
- Daily/Weekly/Monthly Price Component Data

- Petroleum and other liquids: Data (browse)
- Crude oil and other spot prices

Udland, Myles. 2014. "Here Are The Breakeven Oil Prices For Every Drilling Project In The World." Business Insider (November 28).

Udland, Myles. 2014. "Here are the Most and Least Expensive Ways to Drill for Oil in the World." Business Insider / Financial Post (December 30).

- Natural (Conventional and Unconventional) Gas
BP. 2015. Statistical Review of World Energy 2015. "Natural Gas."
- Overview of Natural Gas
- Background
- History
- Uses
- Residential uses
- Commercial uses 
- Uses in industry 
- Transport
- Focus on LNG
- Focus on shale
- Shale wells
- Shale shock
- Water requirements
- Water disposal issues
- Shale and greenhouse emissions

FracFocus Chemical Disclosure Registry

Ridley, Matt. "The Five Myths about Fracking." Rational Optimist (August 16).

Lomborg, Bjorn. 2013. "Innovation's Vastly Cheaper than Green Subsidies." The Globe and Mail (July 15).

"Natural Gas." Institute for Energy Research.

EIA. 2014. "Natural Gas Serves a Small, but Growing, Portion of China's Total Energy Demand." Today in Energy (August 18). 

Historical perspective
Grealy, Nick. 2012. "Methane in the Water: Pennsylvania, 1783." NoHotAir. (Original source: Thomas Paine. 1819. The Political and Miscellaneous Works of Thomas Paine, volume II. R. Carlile, p. 181).

Smil, Vaclav. 2012. "Placing the American Gas Boom in Perspective." The American Magazine (May 3).

Waldie, Paul. 2014. "How Fracking weakens Gazprom, the Bedrock beneath Putin's Feet." The Globe and Mail (February 18).

Fracking in the USA
Airhard, Marc. 2013. "Natural Gas Saves Water and Reduces Drought Vulnerability, Even When Factoring in Water Lost to Hydraulic Fracturing." Geology Foundation, Jackson School of Geosciences (University of Texas - Austin), December 19.

Bailey, Rona. 2013. "The Promised Land of Fracking.", January 8.

Biello, David. 2010. "What the Frack? Natural Gas from Subterranean Shale Promises U.S. Energy Independence - With Environmental Costs." Scientific American (March 30).

Bullis, Kevin. 2013. "Shale Gas Will Fuel a U.S. Manufacturing Boom." MIT Technology Review (January 9).

Harper, Christopher. 2014. "A Fracking Good Story Missed by the Media." Washington Times (January 29).

Helman, Christopher. 2012. "EPA Doubts Its Own Anti-Fracking Study, While Ohio Determines Fracking Did Not Spawn Earthquake Swarm." Forbes (March 12).

Krauss, Clifford & Eric Lipton, "After the Boom in Natural Gas." The New York Times (October 20).

McGrath, Matt. 2013. "Report Suggests 'Permanent Slowdown' in CO2 Emissions." BBC News (October 31).

Rotman, David. 2012. "King Natural Gas." MIT Technology Review (August 21).

Epstein, Alex. 2015. "Four Fallacies that Fracktivists Use to Scare You." Forbes (October 15).

Sarnoff, Nancy. 2013. "Oil Giant, Developer George Mitchell Dies at 94." Houston Chronicle (July 26).

Nordhaus, Ted, Alex Trembath, Michael Shellenberger, Max Luke. 2013. "Coal Killer : How Natural Gas Fuels the Clean Energy Revolution." The Breakthrough (June 25). 

Koch, Wendy. 2014. "Exxon and Chevron Trailing in U.S. Fracking Boom." USA Today (May 4).

Gertner, Jon 2013. "George Mitchell : He Fracked Until It Paid Off." New York Times (December 21).

Fitzgerald, Tim. 2014. "Frackonomics : The Economics behind America's Shale Revolution." PERC Report 33 (2) (Fall/Winter).

Carlyle, Ryan. 2014. "Fracking Rant." Quora (September 18).

Driessen, Paul. 2014. "What Drives Anti-Fracking Zealots?" (September 21).

DiChristopher, Tom and Javier E. David. 2014. "Oil, Natural Gas Surge makes Philadelphia the New Energy Hotspot." (November 16).

Ravve, Ruth. 2014. "Sand Rush in Midwest, Where Rare Material for Fracking is Mined." (June 26). 

Fracking in the rest of the world
Lawson, Nigel. 2012. "New Energy Revolution Is Shaking Up Old World Order." Daily Mail (December 8).

US EIA. 2013. Technically Recoverable Shale Oil and Shale Gas Resources: An Assessment of 137 Shale Formations in 41 Countries Outside the United States. (June) (Executive Summary).

EIA. 2013. "North America Leads the World in Production of Shale Gas." Today in Energy (October 23). 

Woudhuysen, James. 2014. "Making the Case for Shale Gas and Oil." Spiked! (April 3).

Sproule, Dale. 2015. "On Shaky Ground: How Should we Evaluate the Risks and Benefits of Fracking?" UofT Magazine (Winter). 

- Environmental Impact(s)

Hand, Eric. 2015. "Thirty Thousand Square Kilometers of Land Lost to Oil and Gas Development." Science (April 23).

Union of Concerned Scientists. 2015. The Climate Deception Dossiers.

Epstein, Alex. 2014. "9 Graphs That Prove Using Fossil Fuels Hasn't Harmed The Planet." Daily Caller (November 13).

Goklany, Indur. 2015. Carbon Dioxide : The Good News. Global Warming Policy Foundation Report 18 (Summary). 

- Others
“Abiotic Theory of Oil Formation.” Environmental Literacy Council.

Bailey, Ronald. 2010. "Oil Without Dinos? New energy sources." Reason, January Issue.

"Oil Shale." Institute for Energy Research. 

• Canada and Ontario
- Overview
Oil and Gas Infrastructure (Google Earth)
- Canada (browse)

US Energy Information Administration. Country Analysis Brief - Canada

Government of Canada. National Energy Board 
- Crude Oil and Petroleum Products
- Natural Gas
- Natural Gas Liquids
- Canadian Pipeline Transportation System
- Energy Markets
- Canada's Energy Future 

Canadian Fuels Association. "Petroleum: Canada's Fuel." Fuels for Thought (Fall 2014).
Chassin, Youri. 2014. Is the Canadian Oil Industry Subsidized? Montreal Economic Institute, Economic Note (May). 

- Oil and Gas
Historical Perspective
Bott, Robert D. 2004. Evolution of Canada's Oil and Gas Industry. Canadian Center for Energy Information. 

Lambton County Museums
- Oil Museum of Canada 

Current Situation (Production)
National Energy Board (NEB)
- Energy Markets 

Natural Resources Canada (NRC)
- Crude Oil and Petroleum Products Market

Cenovus Energy
- Western Canadian Select

Canadian Press. 2013. "Statoil Discovery off N.L. Estimated at 600 Million Barrels." Chronicle Herald (September 26).

Canadian Fuels Association 
- Canada's Petroleum Fuels Value Chain 
- Tough Questions about the Future of Transporation Fuels in Canada 

Van Loon, Jeremy. 2015. "The Oil-Sands Glut Is About to Get a Lot Bigger." Bloomberg News (September 3). 

Bituminous Sands
Government of Alberta - What is Oil Sands?

"Canadian energy: The sands of grime." The Economist (November 17, 2012).

Henderson, Victoria. 2014. "I, Rock Star: Why Neil Young Should Jam With Leonard Read. The Fallacy of First Appearances and the Anti-Oil Lobby." PanAm Post (January 21).

Kasperkevic, Jana. 2012. "Canada Wants All Tar Sands Haters to Look at These Charts." Business Insider (April 26).

Pipeline Politics and Economics
Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA)
- About Pipelines (browse)
- Interactive Maps (browse)

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)
- Pipeline projects

Committee for a Study of Pipeline Transportation of Diluted Bitumen et al. 2013. TRB Special Report 311: Effects of Diluted Bitumen on Crude Oil Transmission Pipelines - Overview. National Academies Press.

Levine, Steve. 2014. "Canada doesn't need a Pipeline to the US to Exploit its Oil Sands." Quartz (January 31).

Smil, Vaclav. 2011. "Obama's Indefensible Pipeline Punt." The American (November 15).

TransCanada Energy - East Pipeline project

Leach, Andrew. 2013. "Energy Security and the Energy East Pipeline." MacLean's (August 25).

Minardi, Jean-Franηois. 2013. "The Economic Benefits of Pipeline Projects to Eastern Canada." Montreal Economic Institute (Economic Note, September).

Mintz:, Jack. 2013."A Quashed Keystone XL would Cost Canadians $1.7-billion a Year." Financial Post (October 28).

Green, Ken.2014. "New Brunswick Derailment Highlights: Rail Vs Pipeline Tradeoffs." Fraser Forum (Spring): 14-15.
Green, Kenneth and Taylor Jackson. 2015. "Rail is Quite Safe, but Pipelines are the Safest Way to Transport Oil and Gas." Financial Post (August 14). 

Scharper, Stephen B. 2016. "Moving Away from a Pipeline Economy: Scharper. " Toronto Star (February 1).

- Current situation (Refining)
Nikiforuk, Andrew. 2011. "Yes, Refine Oil Sands Crude Right Here." The Tyee (September 22).

Cross, Philip. 2013. "Oil Industry Confound Critics." National Post (October 2).

Crowley, Brian Lee. 2013. "Market Hunger for Bitumen, not Refined Oil." The Globe and Mail (October 4).

- Ontario
Ontario Petroleum Institute
- History
- Oil
- Natural Gas
- Storage
- Publications
- Links

Suggested readings & links

Lecture 6 (February 9): Term Test


Lecture 7 (February 23): Electricity (Hydro and Nuclear)

Mandatory Videos

CHMnanoed. 2010. "Magnetism: Motors and Generators."
Enerdynamics. 2012. "Direct and Alternating Current." 

Mandatory readings

• General
“Electrification Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century. National Academy of Engineering. 2000.

Bradley, Robert L and Richard W. Fulmer. Energy: The Master Resource, Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 2004, Chapter 2: Using Energy, pp. 19-20, 25-29, 30-31, 45-48.

Environmental Literacy Council Website.
“Electric Current and Power Transmission
“Electric Power Grids and Blackouts

Lomborg, Bjψrn. 2013. "Blinded by the Light." Project Syndicate (March 13).

Energy Education. "Electrical Generation."

Power for the Future (Canadian Electricity Association) - Electricity Map (Browse).

NERC (North American Electricity Reliability Corporation) - Regional Entities (Browse)

• Hydroelectric
International Hydropower Association 
- "A Brief History of Hydropower
- "Types of Hydropower

"Hydroelectricity." Historica Canada.

• Nuclear
Portney, Paul R. "Nuclear Power: Clean, Costly, and Controversial." Resources (Navigating Energy Choices in the 21st Century), Winter 2005, Issue 156, pp. 28-30.

Bailey, Ronald. 2011. "Nuclear Disaster in Japan Does it show a way forward for nuclear power?" Reason Magazine, March 15.


Fumento, Michael. 2005. "So What Really Happened After Chernobyl?" Tech Central Station, September 19.

Brown, Anthony. 2002. "'Myth' of Chernobyl suffering exposed." The Observer, January 6.

"Chernobyl Death Toll Grossly Underestimated." Greenpeace, April 18, 2006.

>Fukushima Daiichi
Smil, Vaclav. 2011. "Japan's Crisis: Context and Outlook" The American, April 16.

Suggested readings & links

Lecture 8 (March 1): Electricity (Alternatives) and Biomass

Mandatory videos


Manhattan Institute. 2011. "Andrew Klavan: The Green Jobs Answer Man."

Prager University. 2015. "Can We Rely on Wind and Solar Energy?" (Alex Epstein). 

Ask this Old House. 2016. "How to Maintain your Snowblower."

Mandatory readings

• General Statements
- History
Stephens, W. R. "Review of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology by Alexis Madrigal (De Capo Press, 2011)."
New York Journal of Books.

"Oil Vs Ethanol." Wessels Living History Farm. 

Bryce, Robert. 2016. "Fossilized Thinking [Review of Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming, by Andreas Malm (Verso)]." City Journal (Winter).

Resolute Reader. 2015. "Review of Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming, by Andreas Malm (Verso)." (December 16). 

- Overview
"Renewable and Alternative Fuels Basics 101." Energy Information Administration (read only the general definition).

Smil, Vaclav. 2015. "Energy Transitions, Renewables and Rational Energy Use: A Reality Check." OECD Observer (304) (November) : 36-37.

Smil, Vaclav. 2014. "How Green is Europe?" The American (September 30).

Koningstein, Ross & David Fork. 2014. "What It Would Really Take to Reverse Climate Change? Today's renewable energy technologies won't save us. So what will?" IEEE Spectrum (November 18).

- Supporters
Mazzucato, Mariana. 2015. "Toward a Green New Deal." Project Syndicate (December 15).

Staedter, Tracy. 2015. "U.S. Could Have 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2050." D-News (June 9).

- Critics
Bryce, Robert. 2010. "Five myths about green energy." The Washington Post, April 25.

Wilson, Peter. 2013. "The Dream of a World Without Oil." American Thinker, March 25.

Lomborg, Bjorn. 2016. "Are Wind and Solar Energy already Competitive with Fossil Fuels?" LinkedIn (January 27).

Lomborg, Bjorn. 2015. "Blowing it on the Wind." Project Syndicate (October 21).

Forbes, Vic. 2015. "Green Energy Plunders the Biosphere." Master Resource (July 20).

Richard, Thomas. 2015. "Exxon on Renewable Energy: 'We choose not to lose money on purpose'." (May 28).

2014. "Analysis: Solar & Wind Power Costs are Huge Compared to Natural Gas Fired Generation." Watts Up with That? (September 6).

Smil, Vaclav. 2014. "Germany's Energy Goals Backfire." The American (February 14).

Corcoran, Terence. 2016. "Clean, Green and Catastrophic." Financial Post (April 1).
- Varia
Suncor. 2015. Report on Sustainability - Renewable Energy (browse).

Yauch, Brady. 2014. "Governments Rip up Renewable Contracts." Financial Post (March 18).

• Biomass
- Wood
"U.S. Wood Pellet Exports Double in 2013 in Response to Growing European Demand." Today in Energy (USA EIA) (May 22, 2014).

"Where are the Wood Pellets Going? A Look at Global Biomass Exports." (December 1, 2014).

Warrick, Joby. 2015. "How Europe's Climate Policies led to More U.S. Trees Being Cut Down." Washington Post (June 2).

- Ethanol
Lewis, Marlo. 2015. "Food vs. Fuel: Worse than We Thought?" Global Warming Policy Foundation (January 30).

Bryce, Robert. 2015. "End the Ethanol Rip-Off." New York Times (March 10).

Auld, Douglas and Ross McKitrick. 2014. "Money to Burn: Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Canada's Strategy for Vehicle Biofuels." McDonald-Laurier Institute (June) (Executive Summary). 

Runge, C. Ford. 2010. "The Case Against Biofuels: Probing Ethanol's Hidden Costs." Yale Environment 360, March 11.

Smith, Aaron. 2012. "Children of the Corn: The Renewable Fuels Disaster." The American Magazine, April 1st.

Wynn, Gerard. 2010. "U.S. corn ethanol "was not a good policy"-Gore." Energy & Oil | Reuters, November 22.

• Solar
Gosselin, P. 2012. "From Rescuing The Climate To Rescuing The Economy - Germany's Energy Transition Goes Into Reverse." NoTricksZone(January).

Sills, Ben. 2010. "Spain's Solar Deals on Edge of Bankruptcy as Subsidies Founder." Bloomberg Markets Magazine, October 18.

Sweet, Cassandra. 2014. "The $2.2 Billion Bird-Scorching Solar Project At California's Ivanpah Plant, Mirrors Produce Heat and Electricity-And Kill Wildlife." The Wall Street Journal (February 12).

• Wind
Bryce, Robert. 2011. "The Party's Over for Big Wind." The Huffington Post (August 12).

Driessen, Paul. 2013. "Cut Fingers, Cancer, Bats and Birds." (April 6).

Simmons, Randy. 2015. "What's the True Cost of Wind Power?" Newsweek (April 15).
Schleede, Glenn (Guest Blogger). 2010. "Understanding the Limits of Wind Power: Key Industry Terms." MasterResource - A free-market energy blog, March 14.

Suggested readings & links

Lecture 9 (March 8): The Perennial Energy Debate

Mandatory videos


National Film Board. 2010. Test Tube (with David Suzuki) (Video).

Learn Liberty. 2011. Are We Running Out of Resources?

New York Times (Retro Report). 2015. The Population Bomb.

Learn Liberty. 2013. Free Market Economics: A Quick History of War, OPEC, and Gas Prices - Learn Liberty. 

Mandatory readings

• Population Growth, Resources and the Environment
Ellis, Erle C. 2012. "Overpopulation is not the problem." The New York Times (September 13). 

Pearce, Fred. 2010. "The overpopulation myth." Prospect Magazine, March 8.

Ridley, Matt. 2014. "Why Most Resources don't Run Out." Rational Optimist (April 30).

Safina, Carl. 2014. "This Planet Comes with Limits." CNN (May 8).

• Jevons Paradox
Encyclopedia of Earth
- Jevons Paradox

Stott, Philip. 2008. "The Jevons’ Paradox." Global Warming Politics, February 12.

Hertwich, Edgar. 2012. "Jevons Paradox or Not? The Myth of Resource Efficiency: The Jevons Paradox by John M. Polimeni, Kozo Mayumi, Mario Giampietro and Blake Alcott Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Consumption edited by Horace Herring and Steve Sorrell." Journal of Industrial Ecology 16 (3) (June): 453-454.

• Survey of the issue
Deffeyes, Kenneth, & Peter Huber. 2005. "It's the End of Oil / Oil Is Here to Stay." Time, October 23.

Mann, Charles. 2013. "What if We Never Run Out of Oil?" The Atlantic (May). 

• Pessimists
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus (Tertullian). Approximately 203 AD. "On the Soul." Chapter 30.

Rose, Morgan. 2002. "In Defense of Malthus." Library of Economics and Liberty (September 16).

McLemee, Scott. 2015. "Past Its Peak." Inside Higher Ed (November 4). 

The Oil Drum 
- Three Nails in the Coffin of Peak Oil
- Bardi, Ugo. 2008. "Crude Oil: how high can it go? (19th century whaling as a model for oil depletion and price volatility)." The Oil Drum: Europe, May 15.

Campbell, Colin C. and Jean Laherrère. 1998. “The End of Cheap Oil Scientific American (March): 78-83.

Monbiot, George. 2012. "We were wrong on peak oil. There's enough to fry us all." The Guardian (July 2).

• Optimists
- Historical perspective and conceptual issues
George, Henry. 1912/1879. Progress and Poverty: An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth, The Remedy. Book II: Population and Subsistence. Chapter III: Inferences from Analogy.

Baumol, William J. and Sue Anne Batey Blackman. "Natural Resources," The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.

Ausubel, Jesse. 1999/2000. "Resources are Elastic," Earth Matters (Winter): 46-47.

Will, George. 2012. "Why doom has not materialized." The Washington Post (August 17).

Bradley, Rob. 2012. "Resourceship: Expanding 'Depletable' Resources." Library of Economics and Liberty (May 7). 

- On Peak Oil
Lynch, Michael. 2009. "‘Peak Oil’ Is a Waste of Energy." The New York Times, August 24.

Glover, Peter C. 2012. "Whatever happened to peak oil?" The Commentator (August 15).

Hayward, Steven. 2016. "An End to Peak Nonsense?" Powerline Blog (January 13). 

Smil, Vaclav. 2013. "Memories of Peak Oil." The American Magazine (February 2).

Smil, Vaclav. 2007. "Peak performance." Tech Central Station, February 23

Smil, Vaclav. 2006. "Peak Oil: A Catastrophist Cult and Complex Realities." World Watch 19: 22-24.

Smil, Vaclav. 2005. "Peak Curiosity." Tech Central Station, December 2.

- Ehrlich-Simon Bet
McClintick, David, and Ross B. Emmett. 2005. "Betting on the Wealth of Nature. The Simon-Ehrlich Wager." PERC Report 23 (3) (Fall). 

Kedrosky, Paul. 2010. "Re-litigating the Simon/Ehrlich Bet." Infectious Greed (February 18). 

Perry, Mark. 2013. "Julian Simon: Still more right than lucky in 2013." Carpe Diem (AEIdeas) (January 12). 

- Latest trends
"What is Oil Shale?" Institute for Energy Research.

Bryce, Robert. 2013. "New Technology for Old Fuels. Innovation in Oil and Natural Gas Production Assures Future Supplies." Energy Policy & the Environment Report No. 12 (Manhattan Institute) (April) (Executive Summary).

Jaffe, Amy Myers. 2011. "The Americas, Not the Middle East, Will be the World Capital of Energy." Foreign Policy (September-October).

Lind, Michael. 2011. "Everything you've heard about fossil fuels may be wrong - War Room.", May 31.

Smil, Vaclav. 2014. "Are Low Oil Prices Good or Bad?" The American (December 22).

Mueller, Philipp. 2013. "The Abundance of Fossil Fuels." Global Warming Policy Foundation (Briefing Paper 6).

Bryce, Robert. 2014. "OPEC KO'd by the Three Rs." National Review (November 26). 

- Latest News
Ashkenas, Jeremy, Alicia Parlapiano and Hannah Fairfield. 2015. "How the U.S. and OPEC Drive Oil Prices." New York Times (October 5).

Krauss, Clifford. 2016. "Stock Prices Sink in a Rising Ocean of Oil." New York Times (January 16).

Russell, Karl. 2016. "Why Oil Is Plummeting." New York Times (February 16).

Suggested readings & links

Lecture 10 (March 15): The Curse of Natural Resources

Mandatory Videos

We will watch two videos

- Productive Conversations: Dutch Disease Explained (Financial Post)
- The Devil's Footpath, written and presented by June Arunga. More background and a talk by the author on her documentary (Update on June Arunga).

Mandatory readings

• General Statement
Palley, Thomas I. 2003. “Lifting the Natural Resource CurseForeign Service Journal, December.

• Resource Curse (Debate)
Ali, Saleem H. 2010. Beyond The Resource Curse: Minerals and Global Development. Pardee Center, Issues in Brief, No. 12.

Davies, Viv. 2012. "The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations." Vox (April 20) (audio and transcript).

Mitchell, Paul. 2003. “The ‘Resource Curse’ is Overstated (PDF document) .” Financial Times, Nov. 18.

Palda, Filip. 2003. "The High Price of Natural Wealth." Fraser Forum, January, 30-31.

Ryan, Kieron E. 2010. "Blood Diamonds Farce.", August 11.

Stevens, Paul J. 2002. "'Resource Curse' and Investment in Oil and Gas Projects: The New Challenge." Internet Journal (The Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy) June. (later published as "Resource Impact: curse or blessing? A literature survey." Journal of Energy Literature Vol IX No 1 June 2003 Pp. 3-42)

van den Bremer, Ton Rick van der Ploeg. 2012. "Managing and Harnessing Volatile Oil Windfalls: Three Funds, Three Countries and Three Stories." Vox (December 14). 

Wall, Alan. 2013. "PEMEX's Throttling Mexico's Oil Resources." American Thinker (September 4).  

• Resource Curse, Dutch Disease and the Canadian Economy
Bergevin, Philippe. 2006. "Energy Resources: Boon or Curse for the Canadian Economy?" Economics Division, Parliamentary Information and Research Service (PIRS) of the Library of Parliament  31 March.

Cross, Philip. 2013. Six Myths Surrounding the Development of Canada's Natural Resources. MacDonald-Laurier Institute, Executive Summary and pp. 12-14.

Cross, Philip. 2013. "Dutch Disease in Canada a myth." National Post (January 16).

Holden, Michael. 2012. "Is Canada suffering from Dutch Disease?" Canada West Foundation Blog (June 4).

Isfeld, Gordon. 2012. "Mark Carney dismisses Dutch Disease, says oil strength sign of success." Financial Post (September 7).

Kelly-Gagnon, Michel. 2012. "Dear Mr. Thomas Mulcair..." Toronto Star (June 25).

Nikiforuk, Andrew. 2013. "Oh Canada. How America's Friendly Northern Neighbor became a Rogue, Reckless Petrostate." Foreign Policy (June 24). 

Leach, Andrew. 2013. "Ottawa is no Caracas." Foreign Policy (September-October).

• Odious Debt
Adams, Patricia. 2002. "The Doctrine of Odious Debts: Using the Law to Cancel Illegitimate Debts." Probe International, June 21.

Suggested readings & links

Lecture 11 (March 22): The Future of the Automobile

Mandatory Videos

We will watch “Nova: Car of the Future.” (The program can be watched online here)

King Rose Archives. 2013. "Firebird I - 1st Turbine Powered Car" (February 7).
Stossel. 2013. "A Green Car's Dirty Secret?

Mandatory readings

• Before the Car
"The Horse and the Urban Environment" on the Environmental Literacy Council's Webpage.

Avery, Dennis T. 2000. "Praising The Gas Engine On Earth Day." Center for Global Food Issue (Hudson Institute) (April 14).

Gordon, Peter. 2007 "Horse Manure." Peter Gordon's Blog, August 27.

Miller, Kirsten. 2012. "The Irregular Guide to New York Entry #5: Toxic Muck." Bank St Irregular (October 21). 

• Historical Perspective and Overall Challenges
Bradley, Robert L and Richard W. Fulmer. Energy: The Master Resource, Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 2004, Chapter 2: Using Energy, pp. 48-55.

Canadian Petroleum Products Institute. 2012. Fuels for Life. A Discussion on Canada's Energy Transportation Choices (Executive Summary).

Kinney Bennett, Ralph. 2008. "Why Gasoline Is Still King." The American Magazine, December 17.

Diesel "The History of the Diesel Engine."

Hotten, Russell. 2015. "Volkswagen: The Scandal Explained." BBC News (December 10).

Eric Peters Auto. 2015. "No More Affordable Diesel." (October 8).

Natural Gas
Fuel for Thought. 2012. "The First Natural Gas Vehicles." (April 27). "Natural Gas in the Transportation Sector."

White, Bill. 2011. "The Long Road for Natural Gas." Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects (June 27).

• Electric Car
- General
Kinney Bennett, Ralph. 2006. "Who Killed the Electric Car?" Tech Central Station, June 29.

Lane, Charles. 2010. "Unaffordable at Any Speed - President Obama's electric car subsidies are snobby and foolish." Slate, July 30.

Lomborg, Bjorn. 2013. "The case against electric cars." The National Post, April 13.

Lomborg, Bjorn. 2013. "Green Cars Have a Dirty Little Secret." The Wall Street Journal, March 11.

Smil, Vaclav. 2012. "Far from Electrifying." The American Magazine, November, 26.

Brooks, Allen. 2014. "The Struggle to Mainstream Electric Vehicles." Master Resource (July 23).

Graham, John D., Joshua Cisney, Sanya Carley, and John Rupp. 2014. "No Time for Pessimism about Electric Cars." Issues in Science and Technology 31, no. 1 (Fall).

Lomborg, Bjorn. 2015. "Electric Car Benefits? Just Myths." USA Today (February 22). 

- Tesla Motor
--. 2013. "The Other Government Motors. Tesla by the Numbers: How Taxpayers made an Electric Car Company." Wall Street Journal (May 23).

Epstein, Alex. 2013.
- "With The Tesla Model S, Elon Musk Has Created A Nice Fossil Fuel Car." Forbes (August 21). 
- "Tesla Debate" Center for Industrial Progress (August 22).  

Michaels, Pat. 2013. "If Tesla Would Stop Selling Cars, We'd All Save Some Money." Forbes (May 28) on Tesla Motor.

Powell, Ben. 2014. "Affording Tesla the Freedom to Fail." Washington Times (April 4).
Stockman, David. 2015. "Tesla: Bonfire Of The Money Printers' Vanities." David Stockman's Contra Corner (February 21). 

• Hybrids
–, "Most Hybrid Vehicles Not as Cost-Effective as They Seem, Reports", June 1, 2005.

Booth, David. 2013. "Hybrid vs. diesel vs. gas: Which one saves you more money?" National Post, February 21.

Elton, Robert. 2004. "The Truth About Hybrids." The Truth about Cars. November 12.

Gantert, Tom. 2011. "Chevy Volt - Costing Taxpayers Up to $250K Per Vehicle." Michigan Capitol Confidential, December 21.

Green, Kenneth. 2011. "The Failed Chevy Volt That Just Won't Go Away." RealClearMarkets, November 30.

• Hydrogen
Bullis, Kevin. 2006. "The Methanol Economy." Technology Review, March 02.

Friedemann, Alice. 2005. "The Hydrogen Economy - Energy and Economic Black Hole." Energy Pulse, February 25.

Smil, Vaclav. 2003. "No Alternative to Reality," Tech Central Station, June 30.

Zubrin, Robert. "The Hydrogen Hoax." The New Atlantis, Number 15, Winter 2007, pp. 9-20.

• Related topics
Biello, David. 2012. "Cheap Fracked Gas Could Help Americans Keep on Truckin'." Scientific American (April 23).

Omi, Koji. 2009. "Alternative Energy for Transportation." Issues in Science and Technology 25 (4), Summer.

Suggested readings & links

Lecture 12 (March 29): Guest Lecture: Joanna Szurmak - Digital Initiatives and Science Librarian

Mandatory readings

1. Historical Vignette: Electric Power Generation in Ontario over the Years
(A brief history of power generation and management in Ontario, from the days of Ontario Hydro, through phasing out of the coal plants, to today's "putting conservation first approach")

- Required Reading:
Ontario Ministry of Energy. (2013, December). Achieving Balance: Ontario's Long-Term Energy Plan, pp. 2-19.

- Additional Sources:
Winfield, M, Gibson, R. B., Markvart, T., Gaudreau, K., & Taylor, J. (2010). Implications of sustainability assessment for electricity system design: The case of the Ontario Power Authority's integrated power system plan. Energy Policy, 38, 4115-4126. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2010.03.038

Section 3: Electricity Policy in Ontario. Ontario Energy Board. (2015, October 5). History of the OEB.
Howeltt, K. (2010, January 8). "The high cost of green power." The Globe and Mail.

Ontario Ministry of Energy. (2014). The End of Coal: An Ontario Primer on Modernizing Electricity Supply

2. The Here and Now: IESO and Electricity Power System Planning
Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). IESO is supposed to "ensure there is enough power to meet the province's energy needs in real time" while also planning and securing future energy and negotiating prices. How does it do this?

- Required Readings:
IESO (2015). Ontario's Power System: Electricity Pricing in Ontario

Ontario Ministry of Energy. (2013, December). Achieving Balance: Ontario's Long-Term Energy Plan, pp. 2-19. 

- Additional Sources:
Ontario Energy Report 

3. Analysis: What Gives with Ontario Electricity Prices?
Observers and analysts, from Energy Probe to the Auditor General of Ontario, have found the pricing and managing of electricity in Ontario downright alarming.

- Required Reading:
Office of the Auditor General of Ontario. (2015, Fall). Annual Report 2015. Chapter 3: Section 3.05. Electricity Power System Planning, pp. 206-215. *This excellent report has been removed from the website - We are providing the link to the PDF*

- Additional Sources:
Office of the Auditor General of Ontario. (2015, Fall). Annual Report 2015. Chapter 3: Section 3.05. Electricity Power System Planning. (the rest of the chapter)

4. Analysis: Electrical Energy Prices Affect the Economy
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Adam White, the President of the Association of Major Power Consumers in Ontario, reflect on the electricity pricing trends in the province.

- Required Readings:
Holmes, A. (2015). Empowering Ontario: Constraining Costs and Staying Competitive in the Electricity Market, pp 1-9. 

White, A. (2015, December 14). "Ontario's surging electricity prices endanger domestic manufacturing." The Globe and Mail

- Additional Sources:
Taber, J. (2015, July 8). "Skyrocketing electricity rates may force one in 20 Ontario businesses to close." The Globe and Mail.

--- End of Required Readings ---

5. Not Easy Being "Green": Wind Power Generation
Wind as a source of electric power in Ontario is not ideal. Academics and analysts hash it out.

- Sources (not required reading):
Rowlands, I. H., & Jernigan, C. (2008). Wind power in Ontario: Its contribution to the electricity grid.
Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 28(6), 436-453. doi: 10.1177/0270467608315942

Adams, T. (2006, November 16). "Review of Wind Power Results in Ontario: May to October 2006." Energy Probe

Holburn, G., Lui, K., & Morand, C. (2010, March 10). Policy Risk and Private Investment in Ontario's Wind Power Sector

Van Kooten, G. C., & Timilsina, Govinda R. (2008). "Wind power development: opportunities and challenges." Resource Economics & Policy Analysis (REPA) Research Group. 

6. Energy Storage: The Next Big Thing?
How hard is it to store power in off-peak? The Ontario Smart Grid storage plan.

- Sources (not required reading):
Adams, T. (2013, October 10). Smart Grid? Part 1: Ontario's Next Energy Project


Final exam


home | courses | curriculum vitae | research | on food miles | awards | media | popular writings | favorite writers | useful links | top