December 20, 2021


UCLA Anderson 298E-04, Winter 2022
Energy, Climate Change, and Finance

Instructor: Ivo Welch

Meeting Times
Tue 16:10-19:00.
Unfortunately, Omicron has just virtualized us.
Zoom Id: 989 8782 7438 (password required, see Bruinlearn or email).
Sessions: 1/4, 1/11, 1/18, 1/25, 2/1.

Jan 11 Update: We have gone pretty much virtual for all of January, so we will do even the final class session on 2/1 virtually (per request of the invited speakers).

I post stuff on Bruinlearn, too — such as recordings of the zoom session and occasional announcements.

During class, please extend me the courtesy of turning on your video. I do not want to talk to a wall of black squares.

The class is not open to the public. I may end up posting class recordings after the course is over, but don’t count on it.


MNGMT 298E is a business-school course. It is neither a climate-science nor an environmental activism course. We are after the truth, not after what we would like or to outdebate one another.

This is a first-time class for me. If you want a class which is well rehearsed, please take this class next year instead (or another class altogether). This year, count on mishaps. As far as I know, no other university teaches a class like this. There are classes on climate change (in atmospheric-sciences departments), but I have not found any classes in economics departments or business schools which teach about the even bigger picture on climate-change, economics, and technology. I have had no good guides or other textbooks to prepare me here. You and I are on novel grounds here. Help me help us.

I am an economist, but this class requires more than just economics. I have spent over a year researching the relevant areas beyond economics, but I may still be getting some aspects wrong. Think of this class as a best attempt only. Nevertheless, although many people can do better on any one of the many subjects that we will be covering, I do not believe that there are many other people in the world that could do much better on the entirety of this teaching enterprise, at least as of 2022.

This course is primarily a lecture class, especially because we are now in Zoom hell again. I would prefer interactivity. Be prepared to be called upon. Also, please ask questions. If I do not know the answer, I will tell you. You are not embarrassing me. Moreover, if you have expertise that you would like to contribute, great. Yet, it’s immature to ask questions with the only purpose being to show off your own background — you don’t need it. If you have good questions for which I do not have the answer, I may ask you to research the answer and tell us in the next session.


The sessions largely follow my (free draft) textbook, with Brad Cornell, Moving the Needle. We have spent the year thinking hard about how to organize our knowledge so it should not come as a surprise that we believe this order is best.

I expect the five classes to blend into one another and mostly follow the organization of our book:

  1. Jan 4: Earth Sciences (Energy, Emissions, Climate History, Climate Future)

  2. Jan 11: Economics (Public Goods, Economics of Costs, Integrated Assessment Models)

  3. Jan 18: Non-Viable and Viable Solutions, incl. final chapter on transitioning

  4. Jan 25: Technology (Fossil Fuels, Electricity, Beyond-Electricity, Geoengineering)

  5. Feb 1: ESG (Brad Cornell and Jamie B. Sobieski).

Although the sessions complete by February 1, it is possible that I will ask you some forth and back on the grading assignment beyond the formal course end date. Think of this as the equivalent of a final exam or final paper period. You have been warned.

I am also guessing that 5 weeks will not be enough for this course, but we will see what we can do for now.


The grading is primarily based on a term paper. You have one of two choices:

  1. Write a complete business plan for a clean energy startup business of your choice. (It could be your own idea or an existing business.) If you want to do this, please email me a paragraph about the company and why you want to do this. Note that this is likely harder than choice #2. You should choose this option only if you have a very specific interesting in a very specific venture.

  2. Go over one (assigned) chapter of the textbook and write a devil’s advocate critique. What is (objectively) wrong in the chapter? I will not get upset over a harsh critique. Indeed, this is the whole point of a devil’s advocate.

    I want to learn from you where I was wrong. If you want to critique a chapter for your grade, please email me. If you have a special chapter preference, explain why you are more suited to critique this chapter than your fellow students. I will try to assign teams of students (hopefully five each) to chapters in which they are interested, but I cannot guarantee that you will get the chapter of your choice.

Maximum length is 5,000 words. 3,000 words is preferred. If it is only 1,000 words, it better be brillant.

The term paper can be solo or joint. I will try to assign students based on interests, but cannot promise it. Students assigned to the same chapter can decide to collaborate or not (i.e., hand in their solo versions). If working in a team, students must include the grade credit sharing arrangement on the paper — could be 20%, each, if there are 5 students. I expect the grade range in this course to range between A+ and B-. If the other four members of a team assign 0% to a student, the grade will be incomplete/fail.

In any case, please email me by Friday, Jan 7, 2022, what you decide; and if you want to critique a chapter, what your first, second, and third chapter preferences are. Your email must include “298E-04 Paper Preference” in the title to escape my spam filter. I will let you know on Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022, what chapters are assigned to what students.

I will give students who actively attend and participate in the class a grading bonus at my discretion.

The term paper is due Feb 19, 2022. Email to me with subject title “298E-04, lastname1, lastname2, …” I will subtract points if you choose a different subject title. (I am going to have to try juggle a lot of assignments.)

Follow Instructions

Let’s see if you can follow the instructions on the syllabus. 😀

Please email me a 60-second (< 120-seconds) downloadable mp4 video in which you introduce yourself, your relevant or basic background, and why you are taking this course. Use as subject title “298E-04: Personal Introduction YOUR NAME”. Do not send a link to a page but include the mp4 video.

NOTE: Use to compress your video to a reasonable file size, like 480p30. Then upload it to Bruinlearn.

Outside-of-Class Communication

Office Hours: Wednesday, 16:30-17:30.

I will try to answer emails of students enrolled in this course within 48 hours. I expect students to extend the same courtesy to me. Always include “298E-04” in the title, or your email may be deleted or lost in my spam filter.

Note: I am teaching three different courses, two of them for the first time. I will try my best to be responsive.

There is no TA for this course.


I will try to record the lectures for subsequent viewing during the course by registered students. Do not view this as a substitute for attending the course. If I wanted to talk to an empty wall, I would not need you, my students. I enjoy seeing you.

And remember: you are dealing with a Boomer as an instructor, who also happens to have a very immature and inappropriate sense of humor. (On the plus side, this means that I am hard to offend, too.) Please indulge us old folks.

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