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The Role of Scientific Information in Environmental Decisions

Spring 2006

PbAf 595 / ENVIR 500
Amy Snover

Course Schedule and Reading List

Note: Links may be updated at any time during the course. Be sure to refresh your browser view of this file to ensure that you're working with the corrected links. Where discrepancies exist between the readings assigned here and in the syllabus handed out on the first day of class, the online version should be followed.

Textbook: Making Hard Decisions: An Introduction to Decision Analysis (second edition) by R. T. Clemen, 1996, Pacific Grove, California: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company. ISBN: 0-534-26034-9 (called Clemen below).

The textbook is on reserve for 4-hour loan in the Odegaard Undergraduate Library (OUGL).

Web Links: The UW has a subscription to all of the journals and clearinghouses that are directly linked from here; downloads should be free from any on-campus computer (although in some cases you will need to register for access). Click here for information about connecting from off-campus. Other reading materials are made available via UW Electronic Reserves; access to these materials will require logging in with your UWnetID.

Jump to a specific day...
Tuesdays Thursdays
Mar 28

Introduction

Mar 30

Precautionary frameworks

April 4

Structuring values; Making choices, Decision trees; Discounting

April 6

Introduction to elicitation, measurement, modeling

April 11

Elicitation, cont.

April 13

Measurement, Updating (Bayes)

April 18

Modeling & prediction

April 20

Group Project workshop

April 25

Value of information

April 27

Monte Carlo

May 2

GUEST: Dr. Jennifer Bagby

May 4

Group meetings

May 9

Exam review session

May 11

EXAM

May 16

Sources of scientific information

May 18

Use of science in policy debates: Expectations, rules & realities

May 23

GUEST: Jennifer Dold, J.D.

May 25

Attitudes about science; New roles for science

May 30

Group presentations

June 1

Group presentations

Date Topic & Readings Assignments
Mar 28

Course introduction, Introduction to decision analytic frameworks

Attributes & elements of decisions, Structuring values

A1 out
 

Clemen Chs 1 and 2

(Optional) Sexton, K., (1995) Science and Policy in Regulatory Decision Making: Getting the Facts Right about Hazardous Air Pollutants, EHP 103: 213-222.

 
Mar 30

Precautionary frameworks

 
 

Wiener, J. & Rogers, M. (2002) Comparing precaution in the United States and Europe, Journal of Risk Research 5: 317-349.

Walker, V. (2001) Some dangers of taking precautions without adopting the precautionary principle: A critique of food safety regulation in the United States, ELR 10040.

(Skim) Steingraber, S. (2004) Report from Europe: Precaution ascending, Rachel's Environment and Health News 786.

(Skim) Commission of the European Communities. (2000) Communication from the Commission on the Precautionary Principle, COM(2000)1.

 
April 4

Structuring values; Making choices, Decision trees; Discounting

A1 due

A2 out

 

Clemen Ch 3 & 4

 
April 6

Introduction to elicitation, measurement, modeling
* bring a calculator to class today *

A3 out
 

Tversky, A. and D. Kahneman (1974). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases, Science 185: 1124-1131.

Clemen Chs 7 (skim) and 8

 
April 11

Elicitation, cont.
* bring a calculator to class today *

A3 due
 

no new readings

 
April 13

Measurement - empirical data

Updating (Bayes)

A2 due
 

Clemen Chs 9 (skim) and 10

For Bayes, review Clemen p. 226 ('8: Bayes Theorem'), pp. 242-250, pp. 319-320

PNW winter temperature data used in class

ENSO forecasting decision tree

 
April 18

Modeling & Prediction

A4 out
 

Oreskes, N., et al. (1994). Verification, validation, and confirmation of numerical models in the earth sciences, Science 263(5147): 641-646.

Sterman, J.D., et al. (1994). Letters: The meaning of models, Science 264(5157): 329-331.

 
April 20

Group Project Workshop

Group Project Proposal Due
 

no new readings

 
April 25

Value of information

A4 due

A5 out

 

Clemen Ch 12

 
April 27

Monte Carlo

 
 

Readings TBA

 
May 2

GUEST: Dr. Jennifer Bagby, Principal Economist, Seattle Public Utilities, Resource Planning Division

"Practical Use of Asset Management and Structured Decision Making - Case Study: Seattle Public Utilities Solid Waste Facilities Master Plan"

A5 due
 

Readings TBA

 
May 4

Group meetings

 
 

no new readings

 
May 9

Exam review session

 
 

no new readings

 
May 11

EXAM

 
     
May 16

Sources of scientific information

 
 

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. (2002) Peer review, Postnote 182 (September).

Altman, L. K. (2006) The Doctor's World: For science's gatekeepers, a credibility gap, The New York Times 2 May.

Pegg, J. R. (2003) Advisory panels stacked, scientists warn, Environment News Service 23 Jan. (for a more printer friendly version, click here.)

Leath, A. T. (2004) Ensuring the integrity of the scientific advisory system, The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News 64 (May 20).

Dean, C. (2006) Where science and public policy intersect, researchers offer a short lesson on basics, The New York Times 31 January.

 
May 18

Use of science in policy debates: Expectations, rules & realities

 
 

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. (2003) Science in policy, Postnote 196 (June).

Michaels D. The Art of 'Manufacturing Uncertainty' an OpEd by David Michaels, Los Angeles Times, June 24, 2005.

Optional...for more documentation on his claims, refer to

Manufacturing Uncertainty: Contested Science and the Protection of the Public’s Health & Environment, D Michaels & C Monforton (abstract) (full text PDF)

Wagner, W. (2005) The Perils of Relying on Interested Parties to Evaluate Scientific Quality, American Journal of Public Health 95: S99-S106.

Herrick, C. N. (2004) Objectivity versus narrative coherence: Science, environmental policy, and the U.S. Data Quality Act, Environmental Science and Policy 7: 419-433. (Read all sections, but just skim sections 4, 5 and 10.)

Kady, M., II, M. C. Jalonick, and A. Sharma (2004) Science, policy mix uneasily in legislative laboratory, Congressional Quarterly March 22.

 

 
May 23

GUEST: Jennifer Dold (JD), Bricklin, Newman, Dold LLP

Science in the Courts (A lawyer's perspective on working with scientists as expert witnesses)

 
 

Additional readings TBA

Root, D. (2003) Bacon, Boole, the EPA, and Scientific Standards, Risk Analysis 23: 663-668.

Browne, M. N. and T. J. Keeley (1999). When is expert testimony useful to courts? The Scientist 13(14): 13.

Breyer, S. (2000). Science in the courtroom. Issues in Science and Technology Summer.

Berger, M. A. (2000). Expert testimony: The Supreme Court's rules. Issues in Science and Technology Summer.

 
May 25

Attitudes about science; New roles for science in environmental decision making

 

 
 

Ruckelshaus, W. D. (1983). Science, risk, and public policy. Science 221(4615): 1026-1028.

Ruckelshaus, W. D. (2002). Science and Public Policy: The twain must meet. The Wolfle Lecture, University of Washington.

Lach, D. et al. (2003). Advocacy and credibility of ecological scientists in resource decision making: A regional study. BioScience 53(2): 170-178.

Jacobs, K., G. Garfin, and M. Lenart (2005). More than just talk: Connecting science and decisionmaking. Environment 47(9): 8-21. Note: slow link - be patient!

 
May 30

Group presentations

 
     
June 1

Group presentations