Briefing paper

This is part 1 of the U.S. Energy Budget project.

Groups of 3 people (well, 2-4 are acceptable) will pick one topic to write 'briefing papers' on, with information that will be useful to any group playing the simulation. Sign up for a topic (on Moodle).

Some suggested topics are listed below. You may instead propose a different topic, not listed--but then need your instructor's approval before pursuing the topic.

  • Nuclear power (see: France)
  • Solar power (see: Germany)
  • Wind power (see: Denmark)
  • Biofuels (see: Brazil)
  • Geothermal (see: Iceland)
  • Population growth (see: China, Italy, "The Stork and the Plow" by Paul Ehrlich, Anne Ehrlich, Gretchen Daily.)
  • Conservation - Building practices (see: Sweden)
  • Conservation - Transportation
  • Cleaner coal
  • Natural Gas (see: USA/fracking)

Start your reading:

Each person in the group will write a short (1-2 pages, before you get to the references) paper on some aspect of your group's topic. You will meet together to decide how to split up the topic. Your group should address the following aspects of your topic. * Some suggested resources at the Good Library are also listed. [Grading rubric]

  • Describe the "idea" behind your topic. The Library's "Credo Reference" collection may be useful.
  • Place your topic in the context of the current energy scene in the United States. The World Almanac, or a search in the Library's "Credo Reference" collection may be useful.
  • List some of the challenges and benefits of a more sustainable approach with regard to your topic.
  • Other countries are like 'laboratories'--everyone trying a different approach. What can we learn from each other? Describe at least one other country's experience with regard to your topic. (Ideally, choose a country which has consciously tried a promising or unusual approach. Some of these are listed above.) Write a bit about what from their experience might work well (or not so well) if we were to try that in the United States. The library's NYTimes search (concentrate on articles from within the last decade) or Lexis/Nexis search may be useful.
  • List the most important policies that might foster what you feel are more sustainable approaches with regard to your topic. The library's "CQ Researcher" may have some good policy-related resources.
  • With regard to our simulation of the United States energy budget, what is the potential of your topic to make this problem more solvable? If you can do a brief estimate of potential impact, that would be great!

* Not all of these will apply in quite the same way to the population growth topic, or some other topics you might pick.

Cite your reputable sources. Use standard English grammar and your spell checker...

Write your paper up--probably using MS-Word. When you're finished, one person in your group can start up a new topic in the Briefing Papers forum (on Moodle) by replying to Paul's post, but with the topic of your paper. Copy all your individual papers into one Word file, which you'll upload in your post and make sure you indicate who all was in your group.

In addition to writing up your paper, I'd also like each one to comment or add questions to two other group's papers in the forum.