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Spring 2022 Course

Climate Solutions Living Lab

Prerequisites: By Permission. This is a multi-disciplinary course and we encourage students from SEAS, GSD, HKS, SPH, HBS, and GSAS to apply. This course has a limited number of seats.

Please send any questions to and submit a statement of interest and CV by October 31, 2021.

Exam: No Exam

This is a project-oriented course: Students from multiple disciplines will work together in teams to design real-world practical tools for advancing climate change goals, such as reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change. Lectures and discussions will provide background on relevant climate-related topics, including the science of climate change; health impacts of reducing GHG emissions; United States laws pertaining to air pollution and climate solutions; project siting, permitting, and financing; and data collection techniques. Lectures will be led by faculty from multiple Harvard graduate schools. Students will have opportunities to consult with members of Harvard’s Office for Sustainability as well as other experts from the private and public sector who are leaders in implementing creative climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Student teams will develop innovative and creative, yet practical, climate solutions. Each team will be assigned a project and have a community, government, university and/or nonprofit partner. Examples of potential projects include (i) developing a framework for GHG offset programs at the city and town level, (ii) creating mechanisms for aggregated direct purchases of renewable energy, or (iii) designing flood easement systems. Information on specific projects will be available at the time of registration. In all projects, we will consider issues around equity, feasibility, implementation, and innovation. Students will learn from each other and guest speakers to scrutinize the feasibility, scalability, and social justice impacts of climate change measures from multiple perspectives, including economic, technological, legal and health. Each project team will develop a detailed implementation plan that includes recommendations to enhance the legal, financial and policy feasibility of projects. 

This course is practical, highly interactive, and hands-on. There will be written and oral exercises throughout the semester. At the end of the semester, each team will submit a final paper that describes and analyzes the team’s project concept, feasibility, and implementation plan. Grading will be based on the quality of class participation, teamwork, exercises, final paper, and presentation.

Note: This course meets from 5-8pm once a week. Project teams will also be expected to collaborate outside of class time.