Spring 2022 - REM 350 D200

Energy Management for a Sustainable Climate and Society (4)

Class Number: 8067

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 10 – Apr 11, 2022: TBA, TBA

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 14, 2022
    Thu, 7:00–10:00 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



An interdisciplinary approach to transforming energy systems in pursuit of sustainable climate and society. Perspectives include thermodynamics, resource potentials, technological potentials, economic evaluation, implementation of transformative public policies, political-economy assessment of policy constraints, national and sub-national governance options, behavioural change potentials, global diplomacy, and pursuit of greater equity within and between countries.


REM 350 (D200): Lectures are remote (ASYNCHRONOUS). Tutorials are IN-PERSON at the Surrey Campus.

To hear Mark Jaccard talk about REM 350, please click on REM 350 

The course takes an interdisciplinary approach to providing students from diverse backgrounds with an understanding of:

  • how humans are disrupting the planet’s energy and material flows;
  • our thermodynamic, geological and biological options for reducing this disruption;
  • the environmental, economic and social implications of pursuing these options; and
  • helpful institutional and governmental changes at local, national, and global levels.

At an introductory level, the course includes sequential study of: (1) causes and effects of greenhouse gas emissions, (2) thermodynamic and other methods for assessing human-environment sustainability, (3) global distribution of energy resources, (4) technologies for preventing or correcting disruptions to the carbon cycle caused by our energy systems, (5) methods for calculating the cost of alternative technologies for energy efficiency, energy supply and energy demand, (6) strategies for overcoming human cognitive biases and asymmetries in socio-economic power that create political, policy and diplomatic challenges for addressing the global collective action problem of reducing, preventing and extracting atmospheric GHGs.


Some of the questions explored in the course
Can current or even substantially higher human-related flows of energy and materials be sustainable?
Are peak oil or peak phosphorous useful concepts?
Are energy efficiency investments profitable?
Will renewables soon be a cheaper source of energy than fossil fuels?
How do we define behavioral change for sustainability and what is the potential?
How do we compare between renewables, nuclear and carbon capture & storage?
Must energy systems be decentralized and small scale to be sustainable?
How do we evaluate alternative policies for sustainability?
What institutions and policy processes are needed for rapidly scaling-up renewables?
Is carbon neutrality a useful target and are offsets a useful policy contribution?
How do we assess geo-engineering as an option for addressing the climate change risk?
How can we achieve the necessary global effort against the climate risk?
What mechanisms within and between nations can rapidly provide energy access to 2 billion people?
What is economic growth, and can it be sustained indefinitely?
How can research into human cognition help with sustainable energy policy design?
What role, if any, for civil activism in advancing sustainability?


  • First mid-term 25%
  • Second mid-term 25%
  • Final exam 35%
  • Tutorial participation 15%



While there will be additional reading material, the course is largely based upon a new book by the instructor: The Citizen’s Guide for Climate Success: Overcoming Myths that Hinder Progress.
The book is free online at Open Access on Cambridge Core at doi.org/10.1017/9781108783453.

Additional reading materials and lecture slides available at the CANVAS course site.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.