We do not require you to search out information for the essay. We provide all the resources required. The quid pro quo however for your not having to look for information, is that we expect your essay to demonstrate your ability to critically evaluate that information and muster evidence in support of a position. Please pay close attention to both the topic and the marking criteria.
The magnitude of the human component in global climate change is still being actively questioned, nevertheless national and international climate change policy actions are under active debate and development. Signatories to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) committed themselves to an objective of achieving "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" and to preparing "national action plans" to address emissions of greenhouse gases.
For Canada, the original framework convention means monitoring and reporting national emissions of greenhouse gases, undertaking actions to reduce these emissions, and developing scientific initiatives to build the global community's knowledge of climate processes, impacts and adaptations. In addition, in December 1997, at the Third Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, attendees negotiated an international climate change agreement, the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol sets out emission reduction targets that will be binding on parties when the agreement is ratified. Canada's Kyoto target is to bring our 2012 greenhouse gas emissions down to a level six per cent below what our levels were in 1990. Our essay is focused on that target and the policy approaches to achieving it.
The first document we are asking you to read discusses the finer points
of the Kyoto protocol: particularly the relationship
between rates of carbon emission and resultant carbon dioxide concentration.
Then we ask you to turn to a discussion of environmental policy. In this
second paper, the authors suggest that there are
three reasonably distinct starting points from which a response to the
convention might be framed: technical perspectives, economic perspectives
and ecological perspectives . They refer to these starting points as policy
"lenses." They argue that the lens you use to examine an issue affects
your perception of climate change and yields divergent beliefs regarding
uncertainty, cost/benefit accounting, and urgency with respect to climate
policy. These differences then shape the recommendations of various advocates
as to the appropriate role for national governments in reducing greenhouse
Your essay must do four things. (1) Give sufficient information on Kyoto and the lens approach (the Parker and Blodgett document) in order to adequately frame your later discussion of Canada's approach to curbing emissions. (2) Provide evidence that you can think critically about the salient elements of each of the lenses (technical, economic, ecological). You might do this by addressing the different lenses in some detail, i.e. how does each suggest mitigating the situation, what are the critical elements of each, do they overlap at all, are their inherent contradictions among them, etc. Alternatively, you might focus on one which you think has the most potential and discuss it, followed by a critical analysis of why the other approaches are not adequate. (3) Evaluate your own mix of lenses (e.g.how do you view climate change or how important is climate change personally,). (4) Finally evaluate the lens mix our federal government seems to be using in their Climate Change 2000 document. More information and links to the resource material are available in the Getting Organized section of this document and at Essay Resources.
NOTE: While we refer to this site at numerous places throughout this document, we urge you to check out UofT's Writing Site. The University of Toronto expects its students to write well and has provided this site to further that objective. You may want to check specifically for information on academic essay writing, reading/writing critically, and common grammatical errors.
You are expected to submit an assignment for grading that is a result of your own, independent effort. This does not preclude you from discussing how to tackle an assignment with a colleagues in the class, but the final version should be solely your own work. If you remain unsure as to what constitutes plagiarism, please don't hesitate to speak with either Karen or me.
While our general topic is how we "see" climate change and its potential solutions, you have a relatively wide scope for how you might put the material together: What should be emphasized? What should be left out? What is meaningful? What aspects of the topic particularly interest you? What best illustrates your ability to analyze a topic? You certainly can't use all the material we have provided in any meaningful way! If you try that, your essay will end up as a superficial review without any evidence of critical evaluation or judgment.
Keep in mind that we are not interested in a simple compilation and/or distillation of sets of facts. An academic essay is an argument, it is not a summary. You're not writing for the Encyclopedia Britannica. You're writing for people somewhat like you might have been at the beginning of the year: university educated but with little exposure to issues around climate change. Your goal is to think about the lenses through which we might view an issue (and in this case the issue of climate change) and try to evaluate both your position and that of the Canadian government.
An essay is an arguement, so you will be advancing/advocating a particular position, but this position has to be well argued and supported. As you should be coming to recognize, science can never be 100% certain, but there are major elements of uncertainty in the science of climate change that go far beyond the inherent uncertainty of inductive science. Some elements of uncertainly that are part of developing a scientific understanding of climate change are sometimes seized upon as an "excuse" for not making difficult decisions. While we have not provided them, you may come across opinions promulgated by some special interest lobby groups to the effect that the science underpinning climatic warming is simply wrong, hence there is really nothing to discuss. It is true that the major impacts of climate change associated with increasing CO2 are not likely to manifest themselves for 100 - 150 years and there may be some some valid arguments to waiting on certain kinds of decisions. However these arguments have to be critically evaluated. Choosing to see climate change through an unqualified wait-and-see lens would not demonstrate critical judgment on your part.
Here are some suggestions for a way to think about organizing your essay, but these should not constrain you! Nor should you assume that a similarly organized essay will be judged more favourably than an alternative organizational model. (It's what you say, as well as how you organize it!) Nevertheless, your essay should start with an informative title. It is then likely, though by no means required, that you would move into some kind of introductory paragraph that states explicitly the "goal" of the essay. This paragraph might explain the background of the problem or pose questions. It should be brief. If you are not sure how to start you might consider crafting concise answers to some of the following: What is the Kyoto Protocol? What are policy lenses? Does learning to recognize that we do filter information through lenses make us more critical readers/advocates? Is the lens concept even useful in climate change? Such opening or introductory remarks are often called thesis statements. (Don't get hung up here! It may be easier to come back to this section later in the writing/editing process.)
The body of the work is where you will set up the four aspects of your essay; perhaps though not necessarily in separate sections. Be judicious! If the reader becomes overwhelmed by the amount of factual information presented, s/he may be unable to remember what point you were originally trying to make.
Finally, it is likely that you will have a concluding paragraph. This paragraph should reiterate what you set out to do and wrap things up. You might end with your opinion of whether the feds seemed to have achieved the right balance of lenses or offer suggestions for an alternative mix or offer a more personal assessment. The last page of your essay (a page that doesn't count as one of the 6) will be your References Cited Section (see Section 4.5.3).
The suggestions we have made for the amount of space to dedicate to various sections are only suggestions! We offer them because we know how easy it is to fall into an essentially descriptive mode and fill up your essay with material for section 1 and 2. This would leave little room for what we consider to be the essence of the essay. Don't spend time reviewing background material that you will never refer to again. We know you will have to read much more than you can use in your essay. You only have six pages! We don't want you to demonstrate that you read everything at the expense of demonstrating that you can use everything in an effective argument.
The University of Toronto expects its students to write well. So, an exceptional piece of work will incorporate something extra: a variable, sometimes undefinable spark that will set it apart when viewed against the larger body of essays. Defining what makes a truly outstanding essay is difficult and even the best writers don't "get it" every time. Professor Silber from the Department of English has thoughtfully provided some tips, but it still isn't easy. This section of the marking is designed to reward those few of you who managed to get just the right pieces into place this time and delivered a supra-synergistic whole.Essay Resources. The task at hand is how to get the most out of what you've read. Gathering and compiling the appropriate parts of all the available information is an absolute prerequisite to the next section: thinking critically about your information. Critical Reading for Critical Writing. She regards critical analysis as something reflective, requiring that you "stand back" and gain distance from the text. "When you are reading (or writing) critically you are no longer looking for information. You already have that. You're now looking for ways of thinking about and evaluating the subject matter. You should be accounting for how an argument is being made. What constitutes its strengths and weaknesses? If the argument is strong, Why? Could it be better or differently supported? Are there any gaps, leaps or inconsistencies in the argument? What are the unargued assumptions? Are they problematic? What might an opposing argument be?" essay writing again. physical layout of the work (e.g. how you organized the bits and pieces); your spelling, grammar and punctuation, and how you treat your referenced material. Getting Organized.)
Remember that effective writing periodically refers back to the goal(s) stated at the beginning of the essay. Such reiterations provide opportunities to remind the reader of the ways in which the current section, paragraph or question is related to the ultimate goal. The use of relatively short sentences and attention to including only one set of logically connected thoughts in each paragraph will vastly improve readability.Answers for Writers of English as a Second Language helpful. Most of us occasionally make one or more of the errors in style, grammar, and punctuation that Dr. Dena Bain Taylor identifies in her hit parade of errors.
We understand that mistakes do creep in. If you find one (or more) in the course of your final proofreading, correct it, even if this means penciling in a dropped word, adding or deleting letters. Don't leave us to assume, you didn't know any better or didn't bother to re-read the essay after you printed it. Get someone else to proof-read your work if you are the sort who just tends to miss their own mistakes. Try to finish your essay at least a day in advance and then come back to re-read it after a bit of a break. (You'll likely be amazed at the errors you missed.) Please use the Web resources provided at the University and in the event that you feel you need additional or personal help with writing, consider visiting your college's Writing Lab. Don't leave this until the last minute! The labs are busy places and can not always accommodate requests for help immediately, but it never hurts to call and ask.
There will also be opportunities to make appointments for one-on-one consultation and help from the TAs.plagiarism; a major academic transgression. If someone has said something much better than you feel you could ever say it, by all means USE the material as is, but put it in quotation marks and give proper credit.
However, take note of Dr. Proctor's admonition: "When you quote directly from a source, use the quotation critically. Don't substitute the quotation for your own articulation of a point. Rather, introduce it by laying out the judgments you are making about it, and the reasons you are using it. You can also follow the quotation with further comments." Don't string a series of block quotes from the various resources together with a few transitional sentences and assume this will fly as an essay! Do not use footnotes for quotations.
Your Literature Cited section should be on an additional page (i.e. it does not count as one of your six pages) and should conform to the parenthetical citation method outlined below. Do not use footnotes or endnotes.
(www.cquest.utoronto.ca/env200y/ESSAY2000/newscientist2.html) or as Smith (1990) points out or ... in a recent study (Smith, 1990) shows...
You have a choice of parenthetical styles for those urls that
have authors, e.g.Edmonds,1999; Parker and Blodgett, 1998:
In subsequent citations, you need only cite the file name
if you use the url method, but must repeat the author and date if you opt for the alternative approach.
In either case, citation of the same source with no intervening citations,
gives you the opportunity to further condense your reference with the abbreviation
(No date is required with Ibid.as we know you are referring to the reference immediately
In subsequent citations, you need only cite the file name if you use the url method, but must repeat the author and date if you opt for the alternative approach. In either case, citation of the same source with no intervening citations, gives you the opportunity to further condense your reference with the abbreviation Ibid. (No date is required with Ibid.as we know you are referring to the reference immediately preceding.)
Direct quotations require special instructions. If the quotation comes from a print source (journal article, book, etc.) simply follow the parenthetical citation with the page number: Uncertainty exists regarding "the future size and behaviour of the natural sinks that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere" (Draper, 1998, p136).
If the quotation comes from an HTML or HTM file, simply include either the author and date or the URL after the quoted passage. (Normally you would be expected to include the page number from which the quotation was taken, but this is not possible with HTML material.) If the material comes from a PDF file, the kind you open with Adobe Acrobat, the page number is available and you should include it (whether you use the author, date or the direct url).
Properly citing material taken from the WWW is challenging since as yet no universally accepted referencing protocols exist. Internet addresses are specified using a URL (uniform resource locator) which you need to supply. In addition, the site will usually have what passes for a title. If it is available from the site, you should also provide the web-site author's name, email address and the sponsoring organization. You also need the last date you accessed the site. The date accessed is extremely important as it protects you if the site content is removed or changed. In many cases the material you will be citing are local edited copies of original files.
Here is an example of the bibliographic citation for an authored
Edmonds, James A. 1999. Beyond Kyoto: Toward A Technology
(Last accessed 12 March, 2001)
Edmonds, James A. 1999. Beyond Kyoto: Toward A Technology Greenhouse Strategy http://www.cquest.utoronto.ca/env/env200y/ESSAY2001/beyond.html (Last accessed 12 March, 2001)
Global Policy Forum (Last accessed: March 12, 2001) Energy Taxes.
We do not feel you need additional resources beyond what we have provided. However if you do use material from lectures (mine or anyone else's), books, journals or newspaper articles, use the following protocols:
When you want to use oral material from lecture, from radio, from TV or other auditory media, the material becomes a personal communication and you cite it with the abbreviation pers. comm., along with the name of the individual and the date. For example: Your essay text might read "Thymine and adenine are complementary nucleotides" (Zimmerman, 2000). In your literature cited section, this would appear as: Zimmerman, A.P., January 27, 2000, pers. comm.
Botkin, D. and E. Keller (1998). Environmental Science: Earth as a Living Planet (Vol. 19, pp. 3-66) John Wiley & Sons New York. 648pp.
Draper, D. (1998). Our Environment: A Canadian Perspective. ITP NelsonToronto. 499pp.For a journal article (in this case assume the actual article was provided for you as a PDF file):
Ha-Duong, M., M.J. Grubb and J.-C. Hourcade (1998). Influence of socioeconomic inertia and uncertainty on optimal CO2-emission abatement. Nature 390, 267 1997) (PDF file)For a journal article that really came from a journal (you would only need to use this if you were pursuing additional research on your own which is not required):
Mohnen, V.A., W. Goldstein and C.W. Wang. 1991. The Conflict over Global
Gardner, H. (1991, December). Are we worrying too much about global warming? Psychology Today, pp. 70-76.For newspaper articles, use the following. If you know the author use her name, last name first. If the article is from a wire service and hence is anonymous or unknown replace the author's name with a blank:
_____ Global warming linked to mental illness. (1991, July 13). New York Times, pp. B13.or
McAndrew, Brian. Efforts to stop global warming (1997, 13 August) Toronto Star.