Pierre Desrochers

GGR 333 – Energy and Society

Period: Sept.-Dec. 2021
Instructor: Pierre DesrochersOffice: Davis Building, room 3273
Lectures: Tuesday 11-1 PMLecture room: ZOOM
Phone: (905) 828-5206E-mail: pierre.desrochers@utoronto.ca

You can contact me anytime at pierre.desrochers@utoronto.ca. For a Zoom, Skype or other video call, contact me in advance to schedule an appointment Tuesday 1:30 – 3PM.

Please read the course syllabus before e-mailing a question.

Always use your University of Toronto e-mail address (@utoronto.ca) 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., GGR329) 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 (sabrina.ferrari@utoronto.ca).

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 http://www.enough.utoronto.ca/ for information on university policy concerning the appropriate use of information and communication technology.

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.

The course format will alternate between formal classes and open discussions. Students are expected to have read the assigned texts in advance.

The course has five (5) 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 learn 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.

Exceptionally this COVID year, your written assignments will consist of the following:

1) Short written assignments50%10:59AM day of lecture
2) Term Test20%October 19 2:59AM
3) Final Exam30%TBA (Online)

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.”

Discussions of the test/exam and written assignments can be found below.

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 for lecture attendance and short written assignments, but they are recommended for both the term test and final exam.

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.

All assignments will be processed through Ouriginal (UTM no longer uses Turnitin). The relevant technical details will be communicated via Quercus.

Short written assignments

You are asked to submit at least four written assignments that consist of a one page (single space) reflexion on the REQUIRED READINGS for the week. Each assignment will be worth 12.5% of your final mark. The deadline to submit your written assignment through Quercus is 10:59AM the day of the lecture. Failure to do so will result in a grade of 0. Please note that the departmental policy of 10% per day per late assignment does not apply in the case of the short written assignments. 

To clarify

  • Neither the videos nor the suggested readings are to be covered in this assignment.
  • You must cover the readings that will be discussed in class that day. For exemple, on September 21st you must submit a written assignment based on the readings to be discussed in class on September 21st, not the readings discussed the previous week.
  • The deadline to submit your written assignment through Quercus is 10:59AM the day of the lecture.
  • The point here is not to summarize the readings, but to identify the main theme(s) and how some of the readings complement or contradict each other. You do not need to cover all the required readings.
  • You can refer to the author’s last name only (e.g., “Diamond” for Jared Diamond)
  • You do not need to include a bibliography as your professor already knows the readings.
  • Each assignment will be graded out of 12.5. Your four best marks will be compiled to determine 50% of your final grade.
  • You can write up and submit up to 11 short written assignments.
  • Two good assignments written by past students have been included in the “Modules” of the Quercus shell for this course. Please consider them “best practice” and models to emulate.
Term Test and Final Exam

The term test will be a take-home assignment worth 20% of the final mark. The final exam will be written during the final exam period assigned for this course. It will be worth 30% of your final mark.

  • The term test will consist of short essays (5-6 pages in total) based on a question selected by the student out of two or three options given by the professor. These questions will cover some of the material discussed in class (including the required videos), the mandatory readings and the suggested readings.
  • The term test questions will be posted on October 5 and the deadline is October 19, 10:59AM. Please note that this is a term test, not a term work. As such, if you will not be able to meet the deadline follow the procedure for missed quizzes and tests detailed below (e.g., contacting the instructor in advance and the subsequent procedures). This is NOT a term work with a 10% per day late penalty.
  • The final exam will take place on the day scheduled by the Registrar’s Office. It will use an open book format. You will have three (3) hours to answer two (2) questions selected by your professor out of up to five (5) themes given in advance. More detail will be given towards the end of the semester.


Please use the following guidelines for both the terms test and final exam

What is the point of these assignments?

  • To acquire more in-depth learning about a topic discussed in this course and its relevance to broader policy discussions
  • To develop your writing skills
  • To learn to think critically
  • To learn the basics of scholarly and policy work

Useful links to help you write your assignments

The University of Toronto Library staff has compiled several links on researching and writing term papers and other types of work. Please look them up, along with the various university resources available to you:

Questions for the term test and final exam will be communicated to students through Quercus.

Themes and documentation for the term test and final exam

Student Technology Requirements and Connection Tools (Zoom, Bb Collaborate)

Students are expected to review and be in compliance with the University’s requirements for online learning (https://www.viceprovoststudents.utoronto.ca/tech-requirements-online-learning/). More resources are available on the UTM Library’s Learn Anywhere website (https://utm.library.utoronto.ca/students/quercus/learn-anywhere).

Zoom will be used in the delivery of components of this course. Students are required to register for a UTM Zoom account (https://utoronto.zoom.us) prior to the first lecture. Only authenticated users can join the zoom meetings; please follow the instructions to ensure that your account is authenticated.

Privacy and Use of Course Materials Notifications

Notice of video recording and sharing (Download and re-use prohibited)

This course, including your participation, will be recorded on video and will be available to students in the course for viewing remotely and after each session. Course videos and materials belong to your instructor, the University, and/or other sources depending on the specific facts of each situation, and are protected by copyright. Do not download, copy, or share any course or student materials or videos without the explicit permission of the instructor. For questions about recording and use of videos in which you appear please contact your instructor.

Communications Policy

Students are encouraged to avail of the posted office hour(s). Correspondence by email or requesting a meeting outside of the scheduled office hour(s) is also acceptable. In all email correspondence regarding this course, please note the following:

  1. Always use your University of Toronto email address (…@mail.utoronto.ca) for all course-related communications.
  2. Include the course code (e.g., ENV100Y5Y) as part of your subject line, and include your full name and student number in the body of the email
  3. Check the course Quercus site before emailing a question, to make sure that it has not already been answered

Please contact the department’s Academic Counsellor, Sabrina Ferrari (sabrina.ferrari@utoronto.ca), for any department- or program-related queries or to submit documentation regarding a missed quiz or test.

Missed Term Work

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.

Term Work – Accommodations

  1. Accommodations due to late registration into the course will NOT be approved.
  2. 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.
  3. For in-class or online quiz/test, studentsCANNOT petition to re-write a quiz/test once it has begun. If you are feeling ill, please do not start the online or in-class test and seek medical attention immediately.
  4. For extension requests, maximum extension (where/when possible) is ONE week.
  5. Extension requests must be made IN ADVANCE of the assignment due date.
  6. Assignments handed in AFTER the work has been returned to the class cannot be marked for credit.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Extension requests will NOT be approved for Group Assignments
  10. 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.
  11. Holidays and pre-purchased plane tickets, family plans, your friend’s wedding, lack of preparation, or too many other tests/assignments are not acceptable excuses for missing a quiz, a test, an item of term work, or requesting an extension of time.
  12. For extensions of time beyond the examination period you must submit a petition through the Office of the Registrar. https://www.utm.utoronto.ca/registrar/forms

How to Request an Accommodation

In the Geography, Geomatics and Environment department, professors cannot grant extensions on term work or allow makeups for missed items. Instead, you must follow the following steps:

  1. You must submit an online Special Consideration Request using the following link: https://utmapp.utm.utoronto.ca/SpecialRequest within 24 hours. Note: The system only supports Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox for the time being.
  2. Email your course instructor.
  3. Submit your absence using the ACORN absence declaration tool. Each day that you are absent must be recorded. The ACORN absence declaration tool lets you record absences for up to 14 consecutive days, one of which must be the day you access the tool (if you are still absent) or the day prior (if you have returned). If you need to record an absence outside of this range, please contact the Office of the Registrar. More information about Absence Declarations can be found at: https://www.utm.utoronto.ca/registrar/utm-absence.
  4. Provide a copy of your Absence Declaration submission on ACORN to the Sabrina Ferrari. (ferrari@utoronto.ca)

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

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 Sabrina Ferrari (sabrina.ferrari@utoronto.ca) Academic Counselor.

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 a special consideration request is not received, or if the special consideration request is denied, you will receive a grade of zero for the item you missed. If the special consideration request is granted – that is, your reason for missing the item is considered acceptable by the committee – your grade will be accommodated accordingly.

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 (sabrina.ferrari@utoronto.ca) Academic Counselor, should you NOT receive notification of your decision within 2 weeks of submission.

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 edo.utm@utoronto.ca or the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union Vice President Equity at vpequity@utmsu.ca.

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 Ouriginal (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.

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. Proctor.

With regard to remote learning and online courses, UTM wishes to remind students that they are expected to adhere to the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters regardless of the course delivery method. By offering students the opportunity to learn remotely, UTM expects that students will maintain the same academic honesty and integrity that they would in a classroom setting. Potential academic offences in a digital context include, but are not limited to:

  • Accessing unauthorized resources (search engines, chat rooms, Reddit, etc.) for assessments.
  • Using technological aids (e.g. software) beyond what is listed as permitted in an assessment.
  • Posting test, essay, or exam questions to message boards or social media.
  • Creating, accessing, and sharing assessment questions and answers in virtual “course groups.”
  • Working collaboratively, in-person or online, with others on assessments that are expected to be completed individually.

All suspected cases of academic dishonesty will be investigated following procedures outlined in the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters. If you have questions or concerns about what constitutes appropriate academic behaviour or appropriate research and citation methods, you are expected to seek out additional information on academic integrity from your instructor or from other institutional resources.

University Plagiarism Detection Tool Conditions of Use Statement

“Normally, students will be required to submit their course essays to the University’s plagiarism detection tool for a review of textual similarity and detection of possible plagiarism. In doing so, students will allow their essays to be included as source documents in the tool’s reference database, where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. The terms that apply to the University’s use of this tool are described on the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation web site (https://uoft.me/pdt-faq).”

How to Query or Challenge a Mark

Please note that, according to UTM policy, you have one month from the date an item is returned to you, during which time you may query the mark or submit the item for remarking. Contact the Course Instructor in person or by email (@utoronto.ca) for all queries about course marks, or if you wish to challenge a mark. Absolutely no item will be remarked after the one-month 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). The item may be returned first to the TA who originally marked it. If you are still dissatisfied, it may be passed on to the Course Instructor for reconsideration. If a remarking is granted by an instructor, the student must accept the resulting mark as the new mark, whether it goes up or down or remains the same.

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
E-mail: access.utm@utoronto.ca
Web: www.utm.utoronto.ca/access

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 viceprovoststudents.utoronto.ca/publicationsandpolicies/guidelines/religiousobservances.htm.
  • As with any academic accommodation request, students must submit an on-line Special Consideration Request @ https://utmapp.utm.utoronto.ca/SpecialRequest

RGASC Statement

The Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre (RGASC) is located in Room 3251 on the third floor of the Maanjiwe nendamowinan Building. The RGASC offers individual consultations, workshops (many CCR-accredited), and a wide range of programs to help students identify and develop the academic skills they need for success in their studies. Much of their programming has shifted online while their physical office is closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Visit the RGASC website to explore their online resources, book an online appointment, or learn about other programming such as Writing Retreats, the Program for Accessing Research Training (PART), Mathematics and Numeracy Support, and dedicated resources for English Language Learners.

UTM Library’s Statement

UTM Library – The University of Toronto Library provides access to a vast collection of online and print resources to faculty, staff, and students and is the largest academic library in Canada. The UTM Library offers Reference and Research Help virtually, through chat, Zoom, and individual research consultations, to help students navigate library databases, find relevant articles for their research, and cite correctly. The Library Workshops and Events help students learn about the search techniques and specialized software, needed to be successful in their academic journey. For more information, visit https://library.utm.utoronto.ca/.



Cleveland, Cutler et al. Encyclopedia of Energy, 6 volumes, Elsevier. (UTM Library TJ163.28 .E53 2004)
(Abstracts can be accessed on science direct)

The Encyclopedia of the Earth (freely accessible)
– energy
– mining & materials
– minerals & mining

Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Krech III, Shepard, J. R. McNeill and Carolyn Merchant (eds), 2004. Encyclopedia of World Environmental History. New York: Routledge, 3 volumes (UTM library GF4 .E63 2004 v. 1-3)

Krowschwitz, Jacqueline I (ed.) 2004. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, 5th edition, John Wiley & Sons. This encyclopedia is fully accessible through the UofT libraries Website. While much of the content is technical, the historical development of energy technologies is given much attention.

Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, 7th edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2006. It is also fully online and can be accessed through the UofT libraries Website.

Zumerchik, John (ed.) 2001. MacMillan Encyclopedia of Energy, 3 volumes. McMillan.

Books and reports covering a wide array of topics

Andrews, John and Nick Jelley. 2007. Energy Science: Principles, Technologies, and Impacts. Oxford University Press.

Boyle, Godfrey, Bob Everett and Janet Ramage. 2004. Energy Systems and Sustainability. Power for a Sustainable Future. Oxford University Press.

Bradley, Robert L and Richard W. Fulmer. Energy: The Master Resource, Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 2004 (A concise introduction to all facets of the energy debate. Full content available on the Web).

Committee on America’s Energy Future, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 2009.
America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation. National Academies Press (Summary Edition).

Cottrell, W. Fred. 2009/1955. Energy & Society (Revised): The Relation Between Energy, Social Change, and Economic Development. AuthorHouse.

Crosby, Alfred W. 2006. Children of the Sun. A History of Humanity’s Unappeasable Appetite for Energy. Norton.

Fanchi, John R., Energy in the 21st Century, World Scientific, 2005, 256 pp.

Fanchi, John R., Energy: Technology and Directions for the Future, Academic Press, 2004, 491 pp.

Hancock, Kathleen J. and Juliann Allison. 2018. The Oxford Handbook of Energy Politics. Oxford University Press.

Hinrichs, Roger A. and Merlin Kleinbach. 2006. Energy. Its Use and the Environment, 4th edition. Thomson / Brooks/Cole.

Huber, Peter and Mark Mills. 2005. The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We will never Run Out of Energy. Basic Books. (A techno-optimist manifesto that covers most of the topics discussed in this course)

Inkpen, Andrew and Michael H. Moffett. 2011. The Global Oil and Gas Industry. Management, Strategy and Finance. PennWell Books.
– Note: In my opinion, this is the best energy textbook on hydrocarbons presently on the market (2013). The full content is available online through the UofT library system.
– Here is the link to the online certificate of the school in which these authors are affiliated)

Institute for Energy Research 2012. Hard Facts: An Energy Primer.

Lomborg, Bjørn. 2001. The Skeptical Environmentalist. Measuring the Real State of the Planet. Cambridge University Press. (Survey and synthesis of official statistics on a range of issues, from forest cover to air pollution and resource availability)

MacKay, David J.C. Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air, University of Cambridge.

MacKerron G., and P. Pearson, The International Energy Experience – Markets, Regulation and the Environment, World Scientific Publishing Co., April 2000, 388 pp.

Mager Stellman, Jeanne (editor in chief). 2011. Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety, International Labor Organization (ILO).
– Kraus, Richard S. 2011. “Storage and Transportation of Crude Oil, Natural Gases, Liquid Petroleum Products and Other Chemicals
– Kraus, Richard. 2011. “75 Exploration, Drilling and Production of Oil and Natural Gas
– Crane, Michael. 2011. “76 Power Generation and Distribution
– Kraus, Richard S. 2011. “78. Oil and Natural Gas

McFarland, Ernie L., James L. Hunt and John L. Campbell. 2007. Energy, Physics and the Environment, 3rd edition. Thomson.

Newell, Richard, Daniel Raimi and Gloria Aldana. 2019. Energy Outlook 2019: The Next Generation of Energy. Resources for the Future.

Shepherd, W., & D.W. Shepherd, Energy Studies – Second Edition, World Scientific Publishing Co., February 2004, 516 pp.

Sinding-Larsen, Richard and Friedrich-W. Wellmer (eds). 2012. Non-Renewable Resource Issues. Geoscientific and Societal Challenges. Springer (Book fully available viat UofT library).

Smil, Vaclav, Energy in Nature and Society – General Energetics of Complex Systems, MIT Press, January 2008, 512 pp.

Smil, Vaclav, Energy – A Beginner’s Guide, Oneworld Publications, 2006, 192 pp.

Smil, Vaclav. 2003. Energy at the Crossroads. MIT Press. (This book pulls together the mature reflections of a Czech-born Canadian who has devoted nearly four decades to studying energy).

Smil, Vaclav. 1994. Energy in World History. Westview.
(A comprehensive look at the role of energy in world history, ranging from human muscle-power to preindustrial hydraulic techniques and modern fossil-fueled civilization)

Thornley, Drew. 2009. Energy and the Environment: Myths and Fact (Second Edition).

Vaitheeswaran, Vijay V. 2003. Power to the People: How the Coming Energy Revolution will Transform an Industry, Change our lives, and maybe even save the Planet. Earthscan.
(A lively, balanced, and constructive review of energy issues by the Environment and Energy correspondent of The Economist)

Recent Developments in Energy.” Economic Report of the President (Chapter 11), February 13, 2006, p. 231-257.

Sustainable Energy: a long-term strategy for the UK.” EEF (UK Manufacturers’ Organisation) Report publication.


Historical perspective

Gopi Rethinaraj, T. S., and Clifford E Singer, Historical Energy Statistics – Global, Regional and National Trends Since Industrialisation, World Scientific Publishing Co., Winter 2007, 440 pp.

Glossaries and Energy Conversion Tables
– Glossaries
US EIA (Energy Information Agency). Glossary

Platts. Energy Glossary Terms

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). Glossary

Natural Resources Canada – Office of Energy Efficiency (Glossary)

– Energy Conversion Tables
National Energy Board (Canada) – Energy Conversion Tables

Online Conversion (Energy)

US EIA (Energy Information Agency) – Energy Calculator

World/Countries statistics, briefs, topical analysis
▪ Canada
Canada Center for Energy – Energy Facts and Statistics

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) – Statistics

National Energy Board – Statistics

CBC News – In depth: Energy

The Kent Group – Petroleum Price Data (Canada)

See Articles by topic/Energy and Environment

Ritchie, Hannah. and Max Roser. 2018. “Energy.”

BP Statistical Review of World Energy

International Energy Agency
Especially their Information Center

CIA – The World Factbook – Guide to Country Comparisons
– Electricity – production
– Electricity – consumption
– Oil – production
– Oil – consumption
– Oil – exports
– Oil – imports
– Oil – proved reserves
– Natural gas – production
– Natural gas – consumption
– Natural gas – exports
– Natural gas – imports
– Natural gas – proved reserves

United Nations
UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development)
– UNCTAD Statistics
– Statistical Databases online
United Nations Development Programme (UNEP) – Environment and Energy
Why does energy matter?
Science and data

The OECD on Energy and on Energy Statistics

World Resources Institute – United Nations, World Bank information
especially Earth Trends, the Environmental Information Portal on Energy and Resources

The World Energy Council especially their Global Energy Information Service and publications (see especially their latest Survey of Energy Resources)

The Rand Corporation’s Energy and Environment Research Area

Specialized Resources

World mapper

International Hydropower Association
– Maps
– Country profiles

International Renewable Energy Agency
Data and Statistics

European Commission – Energy – Statistics

United States Geological Survey – National Minerals Information Center

US Energy Information Administration
– EIA-International statistics

United Nationas Environment Programme – Energy

• Topical Analysis on Energy and Resource Issues

Websites with multiple links to energy websites
– Oil and Gas Websites
International Labor Organization – Resource guide on the oil and gas production sector

Lynne Kiesling and Michael Giberson have compiled numerous energy links of interest on their blog “Knowledge Problem.”

Solomon Associates
– Solomon Insights

World Oil

– Economic Geology and Minerals
Paige Underwood’s Geology Exploration and Mining – 101 Exceptional Online Resources

Society of Petroleum Engineers et al. 2011. Guidelines for Application of the Petroleum Resources Management System.

Videos and Multimedias
– News Organizations

PBS – e2 energy

CBC News – Energy

BBC – Energy in the UK




News and Analysis
Bloomberg Energy News | Bloomberg Energy Prices

The Conversation: Environment + Energy

The Economist
– Energy Technology
– Oil Production and Refining

Electricity News

Energy Central

Energy in Depth

Energy Management Institute

Energy Online

Energy Pub

Energy Tribune

European Energy Review

Forbes – Energy Source

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)

MIT Technology Review on Energy

Oil & Gas Journal



Platts Energy News

Power Engineering and PEI Magazines

The Wall Street Journal Energy Report

VOX.eu on energy

World Energy Source

Academic Centers, NGOs, Think Tanks and Others
– Academic Centers

Belfer Center (Harvard) on Energy

Institute of Political Economy (Utah State University)

The Energy Analysis Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University
One of the most innovative research program on the grey area at the intersection of technological change, economic growth and the environment.

Texas Tech University – Energy Commerce Program

Energy Strategies (Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences and Computer Services)

MIT Energy Initiative

Australian Commodity Research Institute – Energy

King’s College London – European Centre for Energy and Resource Security

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis – Energy Primer

– NGOs

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization on Natural Resources and the Environment

UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development)
– on Energy
– Digital Library

UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) Global Environmental Outlook

Energy” on the Earth Institute’s Website

Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands

The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

Meridian Institute on
– Environment and Natural Resources
– Climate Change and Energy

– Think Tanks

Center for Strategic and International Studies on Energy and Climate Change

The Council on Foreign Relations on Energy/Environment

UK Energy Research Centre

UK Research Council’s Energy Programme

The Rand Corporations’ Environment, Energy and Development Program

The Brookings Institution on Environment and Energy

Reason Foundation on Energy

Resources for the Future
One of the most respected and quoted think tanks on energy and resources issues. Large array of policy analysis on resource and environmental issues.

– Others

“Energy” on Geometry.Net (The On-Line Learning Center)
Links to several Websites, from books and class syllabus to governmental agencies.

NASA’s Global Change Master Directory, especially their Human Dimensions section

The Secret Lives of Energy

GreenFacts on Energy

Visual Capitalist on energy


General Interest
Canadian Energy Centre

Government of Canada on energy, resources and the environment

Natural Resources Canada
Canada’s Energy Outlook: The Reference Case 2006
Report of the National Advisory Panel on Sustainable Energy Science and Technology.
On Energy
Electricity Resources Branch
Office of Energy Efficiency especially Statistics and Analysis

Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program (Natural Resources Canada)

Environment Canada
Energy production
Oil sands
Sustainable development (including Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators)

National Energy Board of Canada

Canadian Senate – Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources

Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporations: Let’s Talk Energy

Canadians for Affordable Energy

Energy Future Forum

Think tanks and research centers (national interest)
ARC Energy Institute

Canadian Energy Research Institute

C.D. Howe Institute
– CD Howe on energy and resources

Canadian Centre for Energy Information
– “Canadian Energy” section
– Partners (link to various Canadian energy-related groups)

Conference Board of Canada on energy, environment and transportation policy

Energy Probe

Fraser Institute on Energy

MacDonald-Laurier Institute on Energy

The Pembina Institute “Energy Watch” division

University of Calgary
– The School of Public Policy (Energy and Environment)
– Energy Education

Montreal Economic Institute
– Energy Policies
– Scully the World Show: Scully Energy Series

Data and news organizations
– Data
Crude monitor.ca

Your Environment – The Complete Canadian Environmental Record (Ross McKitrick, Guelph University).

– News Organizations
Alberta Oil Magazine

CBC News Indepth: Energy

Energy Sector in Canada on About.com


Globe and Mail – Report on Business: Energy & Resources

The Tyee – Energy File

Topical Websites
– Carbon Fuels

Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractors (CAGC)

Canadian Energy Pipeline Association

Canadian Federal & Provincial Governments Oil & Gas Web Sites

Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists


Petroleum Services Association of Canada
– Oil and Gas Info
– How does the Oil and Gas Industry Work?

Small Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (SEPAC)

Ontario Petroleum Institute (suggested links)

– Petroleum
Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
on Canada’s Oil Sands

Canadian Fuels Association

CFA Perspectives

Canadian Petroleum Producers Institute

Petroleum History Society

– Gas
Canadian Gas Association

Canadian Society for Unconventional Gas (CSUG)

– Coal
Clean Coal Technology Roadmap (Natural Resources Canada)

Coal Association of Canada

– Bitumen
Oil Sands Fact Check

– Electricity
Canadian Electricity Association

– Hydro
Canadian Hydropower Association

– Nuclear
Atomic Energy of Canada

Canadian Nuclear Power Association

Canadian Nuclear FAQ

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

– Alternatives
Canadian Clean Power Coalition

Canadian Renewable Fuels Association

Canadian Wind Energy Association

Solar Energy Society of Canada

Canadian Provinces (Governments, Industries and NGOs)
Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)

Ontario Energy Association

Ontario Energy Board

Ontario Energy Network

Ontario Ministry of Energy

Ontario Power Authority

Ontario Petroleum Institute

– Alberta
Alberta Department of Energy

Alberta Energy and Utilities Board

Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board

Alberta Energy Research Institute

Alberta’s Oil Sands

Alberta’s Oil Sands Discovery Centre

– British Columbia
British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines

BC Hydro

BC Oil and Gas Commission

Resources Work

– Manitoba
Manitoba Hydro

Manitoba Petroleum Division

Manitoba Science, Technology, Energy and Mines

– New Brunswick
New Brunswick Ministry of Energy

– Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador Ministry of Mines and Energy

Newfoundland and Labrador Natural Resources

Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board

– Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia Energy

Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board

– Quebec

Québec Ministry of Energy

– Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan Energy and Resources

Saskatchewan Industry and Resources


US Department of Energy

American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy

Energy in Depth

US Chamber of Commerce – Institute for 21st C Energy

– US Department of Energy
Office of Fossil Energy

American Petroleum Institute
– Energy Tomorrow

American Nuclear Society

American Bioenergy Association

American Energy Society

American Solar Energy Society

American Wind Energy Association

BeyondRoads.com (US asphalt industry)

Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology

CO2 Coalition

Energy from Shale

Natural Gas Supply Association
– NaturalGas.org

Solar Electric Power Association

American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers

American Coal Foundation
– Useful websites


Energy in Depth – Climate & Environment

International Hydropower Association

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries

World Coal Institute

World Nuclear Association

World Wind Energy Institute


American Enterprise Institute on Energy and Environment – Optimists

Benjamin Zycher (AEI)

Bjørn Lomborg’s (The Skeptical Environmentalist) Website – Optimist

Cato Institute
– On Energy and Environment
– Energy | Natural Resources

Center for Energy Policy and the Environment (Manhattan Institute) – Optimists

Center for Industrial Progress – Optimist

The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels – Data

Chris Knittel – Pessimist

Competitive Enterprise Institute – Optimists

The David Suzuki Foundation – Pessimists

Department of Energy”  in Downsizing the Federal Government

Fraser Institute – Optimists
Environment and Risk

The Future of Energy.” Spiked-Science Debates

The Heritage Foundation on Energy and Environment Issues – Optimists

The Independent Institute on Energy – Optimists

Institute for Energy Research – Optimists

James Conca (Forbes)

John P. Holdren – Pessimist

John McCarthy’s “Progress and its Sustainability” Site – Optimist

No Tricks Zone (Germany, Pierre Gosselin)

Peter Glover – Optimist

Peter Z. Grossman – Optimist/realist

Power to the People

Rainey Center on Energy

Remembering Julian Simon. Freedom Network and the Heartland Institute – The (late) Optimist in Chief

Strata (USA)

UK Energy Research Centre – Pessimists

Union of Concerned Scientists’ Clean Energy Program – Pessimists

Worldwatch Institute – Pessimists


Several academic journals devoted to the topics of energy and resources are accessible through the University of Toronto Librairies website. Most of them, however, are too specialized or too advanced for this course, although technical journals sometimes publish more accessible policy articles. The following publications, however, should prove particularly useful to you:

Annual Review of Environment and Resources (formerly Annual Review of Energy and the Environment)
The best resource for this course. In-depth non technical surveys of several energy related issues.

Annual Review of Resource Economics

International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics. Another publication that specializes in detailed review articles.

Economics of Energy and Environmental Policy

Resources for the Future‘s quarterly magazine. Although not strictly speaking an academic journal, it contains short and accessible feature stories by RFF authors on a variety of environmental, energy, and natural resource issues.

Essays and book reviews on the topics of “Energy, Resources and the Environment” published in the periodical Foreign Affairs that, like Resources, is aimed at a broad readership.

Issues in Science and Technology
– on energy (topical)

 Other energy periodicals

Energy and Environment

Energy Journal

Energy Policy

Energy Research and Social Science

Several academic journals on energy and environmental issue are published by Inderscience Publishers

International Journal of Energy Technology and Policy

International Journal of Global Energy Issues

Journal of Energy History

Natural Resources Forum

Natural Resources Journal

Resources Policy

Society and Natural Resources

You can access these periodicals through the UTL Website.


Note: Blogs are not acceptable as primary or secondary references. These links are provided simply because I find their authors knowledgeable and interesting, and also because they provide several links to valuable primary sources:

Alternative Energy Blog
The Barrel (Platts)
Committee for a Constructive Tommorrow (CFACT) on Energy
The Energy Collective
Energy Depot (CFACT) – Optimists
Energy Outlook
Energy Policy, Then and Now (Peter Z. Grossman)
Environmental Capital – WSJ.com
Environmental Economics
The Ergosphere
Facts on Energy – a Project of the Institute for Energy Research
Globe and Mail – Inside Energy Blog
Knowledge Problem
MasterResource – A free-market energy blog
Parker Gallant (Energy Probe)
Peak Oil Optimist
R-Squared Energy Blog
Rescuing the Frog (Andrew Leach)
The New York Times (On the Dot) Energy Challenge Series
Tom Adams Energy
New Energy Currents on Windsofchange.net

 Personal Websites
Indur Goklany of the US Department of the Interior
Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University
Ozzie Zehner
Tyler Priest
Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba


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

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.

Solar Share. 2015. “Who Manages Our Electricity In Ontario: A Brief History.” (November 6).

Ontario Energy Board. Ontario’s Energy Sector.

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 (Independent Electricity System Operator). Electricity Pricing.

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. *In case this excellent report is once again removed from the government’s website – We are providing the link to the PDF*

Crawley, Mike. 2017. “Auditor General Blasts Kathleen Wynne’s ‘Fair Hydro Plan.’ Liberals ‘improperly’ keeping hydro plan debt off government’s books, says special report by Bonnie Lysyk.” CBC News (October 17).

Add Taylor, Peter Shawn. 2019. “Gerald Butts still denies responsibility for a bigger scandal: Ontario’s ‘green energy’ catastrophe.” Financial Post (February 26).

– 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).

Green, Kenneth. 2017. “Ontario power users get some relief, but there’s still much more to do.” Toronto Sun (August 18).

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.

McKitrick, Ross R. and Elmira Aliakbari. 2017. Rising Electricity Costs and Declining Employment in Ontario’s Manufacturing Sector. Fraser Institute (read the Executive Summary).

Heyden-Kaye, Jeffrey. 2018. “$38,000 Power Bill in Ontario Raising Red Flags for Albertans.” Ponoka News (October 23).

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

Adams, Tom. 2012. “Review of Mad Like Tesla by Tyler Hamilton (ECW Press, 2011).” Tomadamsenergy.com.

McKitrick, Ross. 2016. “Ontario electricity has never been cheaper, but bills have never been higher.” Financial Post (August 10).

Corcoran, Terence. 2016. “Boondoggle: How Ontario’s pursuit of renewable energy broke the province’s electricity system.” Financial Post (October 6).

Furey, Anthony. 2016. “Canada’s green agenda is having Soviet-style repercussions.” Toronto Sun (October 24).

Parker Gallant, Parker. 2018. “How Kathleen Wynne could have avoided public outcry over electricity costs.” Parker Gallant Energy Perspectives (December 5).

Cross, Philip. 2018. “StatCan just exposed how worthless ‘green’ industries are to Canada’s economy.” Financial Post (December 19) .

— 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.

McKitrick, Ross and Elmira Aliakbari. 2017. Did the Coal Phase-out Reduce Ontario Air Pollution? (January). Fraser Institute.

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.

7. Ontario energy history and policy framework
Special Issue: Energy and Society in Canada.” 2014. Scientia Canadensis: Canadian Journal of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine 37 (1-2): 1-221.

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

Stokes, Leah C. 2013. “The Politics of Renewable Energy Policies: The Case of Feed-in Tariffs in Ontario, Canada.” Energy Policym 56: 490-500.