ENV221H1F 2015 – Essay Assignment Last updated: Oct 21, 2015 Value: 30% of final grade Due: Wednesday November 11th, 2015 4-6 pages, maximum 1,800 words

There is much optimism of real substantive discussions leading to a binding agreement at COP21 – The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place in Paris, France between Nov 30 – Dec 11, 2015. Towards this end, nations were invited to submit an INDC (intended nationally determined contributions) prior to the meeting.

The INDC’s were intended to be short, concise documents that clearly laid out nationally determined contributions to reductions. Information such as the reference point (e.g. a base year to compare reductions), time frames, periods of implementation, scope and coverage, as well as assumptions and methodological approaches were asked to be identified. More information on the INDC process can be found at:


Access to all submitted INDC can be found at:

http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/indc/Submission%20Pages/submissions.aspx Canada has stated in its INDC, that it “intends to achieve an economy wide target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030”. In light of what you know about the causes and consequences of climate change, provide a critique (both positive & negative as warranted) of Canada’s submission. For example, is it too ambitious, not ambitious enough, too vague, provides tangible targets, targets the right sectors…? In your response we encourage you to review a minimum of 2 other submissions from other countries. Your paper should at a minimum:

 Define the climate change issue and summarize our current knowledge of it, in

terms of the scientific, political and philosophical aspects, including interconnections amongst those aspects. (1 page)

 Identify and provide an analysis of Canada’s commitment to tackling climate change: past and present. (1 page)

 Present an argument on why you think Canada needs to play a larger or smaller role in climate change action. (1 page)


 Present a critique of Canada’s INDC with a comparative analysis of the proposals’ put forth by 2 other countries. You should provide a rationale for your country selections. (1- 2 pages)

 Recommend one or more actions to translate your arguments towards tangible change. Justify your chosen course of action with support from reputable sources and reference to the relevant dimension of the problem. Issues of feasibility and implementation should be considered. (1 page)

 Include a clear thesis statement, properly cited sources and gender neutral language, and be free of spelling and grammatical errors.

An excellent paper will demonstrate a solid grasp of the issues discussed in class, and a thorough understanding of the readings. It will also integrate this material into an analysis of the issues, demonstrate awareness of the current debates surrounding climate change and policy implementation, and include your own original thoughts. You will be evaluated on the paper’s form, writing style, structure, precision & accuracy, and analysis (see below for further details on these criteria). You are expected to demonstrate your capacity to integrate the course material (lectures, tutorials, readings) with supporting independent research into a well-documented interdisciplinary analysis of a critical environmental problem. Your sources for this assignment should include:  Course readings, lecture notes and tutorial notes. (You must document your use of

these sources as you would any others).  A minimum of 3 other references, in addition to those used from your course

readings and assignment instructions. Such sources should be drawn from reliable professional or academic sources engaged in the public debate. We caution you to be extra vigilant in determining the validity and authority of the authors and sources before inclusion in your own analysis. Examples of such sources include (but are not limited to): o Academic books and journal articles o Government and industry websites; o think tanks and environmental non government organizations o mainstream media (e.g. CBC, TVO, Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, etc.).

Please keep in mind that this paper is a short paper – we expect you to stick within the set length limits, and will penalize papers that are too long. Keeping it short is challenging, but those of you who are able to cover all of the relevant points and be concise will show real mastery of the issues.


Formatting Your paper should have:  A representative assignment title, the course title and number, your TA’s name,

your name and student number;  page numbers;  use 12 point font, 1 inch margins, double spaced  a separate page for references; and,  A final word count of the body of the paper on the last page at the bottom right.

Not to exceed 1800 words. Do not include your separate page of references in the word count.

Otherwise you can be creative in your formatting. Documentation of Sources When writing an assignment or academic paper such as this one, you must acknowledge the sources from which you took information or ideas, specific facts which you use as evidence in your argument, and the authors of distinctive or authoritative ideas. This allows your reader to look to those sources for further information, or to confirm your information. If you have questions about when and why you should be using citations, please see the handout How Not to Plagiarize from the University of Toronto Writing Centre (http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/using-sources/how-not-to-plagiarize).

In this assignment, the preference is for the APA formatting style which consists of an in- text citation method that consists of the surname(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication. For more information review the handout Standard Documentation Formats (http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/using-sources/documentation), which includes instructions on documenting online and digital sources.

Keep in mind, you must document all of your sources, including  Course Readings  Additional articles or policy statements  Digital and Online Sources

This is not a group project. You are required to work independently on this assignment, and to submit your own original work. We check vigilantly for plagiarism; for assistance with any writing issues, we encourage you to use the resources of the writing centres: www.writing.utoronto.ca. (Some information contained here is summarized from Dr. Margaret Proctor’s handout How Not to Plagiarize, University of Toronto 2008)


Administrative Details Submission of assignments: We will be using Turnitin.com AND the online assignment function in Blackboard for submission of this assignment. With Turnitin.com normally “students will be required to submit their course essays to Turnitin.com for a review of textual similarity and detection of possible plagiarism. In doing so, students will allow their essays to be included as source documents in the Turnitin.com reference database, where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. The terms that apply to the University’s use of the Turnitin.com service are described on the Turnitin.com web site”. If a student does not wish to participate in Turnitin, the student MUST advise the head TA (Cristian Ches; c.ches@utoronto.ca) immediately as alternate arrangements for screening the assignment must be arranged. To avoid late penalties the essay assignment must be submitted to BOTH the Turnitin.com site and the Blackboard Assignment function before midnight of November 11th, 2015. More detailed instructions for submission of assignments to BB will be posted closer to the due date. Submitting your Assignment in Turnitin.com You will need to visit the Turnitin.com website and follow student instructions to submit your assignment for vetting. You will need a class ID and enrolment password, which is unique to your TA – see Table below.

Group Class ID Enrolment Password Brian’s tutorials

10974053 221Brian

Cristian’s tutorials

10974029 221Cristian

Mark’s tutorials

10974039 221Mark

Susan’s tutorials

10974043 221Susan

Submitting your Assignment on Blackboard When submitting your assignment on Blackboard, the file should be saved in a single Word file, with an extension of .doc or .docx. Do not submit pdf files. The title of your file should follow the format: “LastnameFirstname.doc”. Please ensure that the file name reflects the name as registered on ROSI, and not a nickname or shorten version of your official ROSI name.


Late penalties The late penalty will be 2.5 percent of the assignment grade per day late, including each day of the weekend, and will only be waived with the accompaniment of a completed official University of Toronto Verification of Student Illness or Injury Form which can be found at:

http://www.illnessverification.utoronto.ca/. Please note that the certificate must cover the period of time you missed, e.g. the week before the assignment/essay is due, etc. and must supply sufficient detail and appropriate support to warrant any special consideration. Assignments will NOT be accepted one week past the due date even if accompanied by a medical certificate unless prior approval has been obtained. All such requests should be directed to the head TA: Cristian Ches (c.ches@utoronto.ca). Academic Integrity The following is taken directly from the Faculty of Arts and Science Academic Integrity website (http://www.artsci.utoronto.ca/osai/students): Academic integrity is fundamental to learning and scholarship at the University of Toronto. Participating honestly, respectfully, responsibly, and fairly in this academic community ensures that the U of T degree that you earn will be valued as a true indication of your individual academic achievement, and will continue to receive the respect and recognition it deserves. Familiarize yourself with the University of Toronto’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters (http://www.governingcouncil.utoronto.ca/policies/behaveac.htm). It is the rule book for academic behaviour at the U of T, and you are expected to know the rules. Potential offences include, but are not limited to:

In papers and assignments:  Using someone else’s ideas or words without appropriate

acknowledgement.  Copying material word-for-word from a source (including lecture and

study group notes) and not placing the words within quotation marks.  Submitting your own work in more than one course without the

permission of the instructor.  Making up sources or facts.  Including references to sources that you did not use.  Obtaining or providing unauthorized assistance on any assignment

including o working in groups on assignments that are supposed to be

individual work, o having someone rewrite or add material to your work while



 Lending your work to a classmate who submits it as his/her own without your permission.

On tests and exams:

 Using or possessing any unauthorized aid, including a cell phone.  Looking at someone else’s answers  Letting someone else look at your answers.  Misrepresenting your identity.  Submitting an altered test for re-grading.


 Falsifying or altering any documentation required by the University, including doctor’s notes.

 Falsifying institutional documents or grades. The University of Toronto treats cases of academic misconduct very seriously. All suspected cases of academic dishonesty will be investigated following the procedures outlined in the Code. The consequences for academic misconduct can be severe, including a failure in the course and a notation on your transcript. If you have any questions about what is or is not permitted in this course, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you have questions about appropriate research and citation methods, seek out additional information from me, or from other available campus resources like the U of T Writing Website. If you are experiencing personal challenges that are having an impact on your academic work, please speak to me or seek the advice of your college registrar. See also the handout “How Not to Plagiarize,” Margaret Proctor, 2009, available online at http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/using-sources/how-not-to-plagiarize Evaluation criteria The primary criteria used in evaluating written work are the following. Form: Defined as freedom from spelling and grammatical errors. Students are expected to include thorough, accurate and consistent references in any academic referencing style that includes page numbering which is included in the document “Standard Documentation Formats” available at: www.utoronto.ca/writing/document.html Writing style: Defined as clarity, succinctness, appropriate diction and tone. Structure: Defined as coherence of the organization of the paper. The logic of the structure is determined by the purpose, which is to test a hypothesis, answer a research question or defend a thesis statement.


Precision and accuracy: Precision means saying exactly and specifically what you mean, avoiding vague generalities. Accuracy refers to absence of major factual errors. Analysis: Student essays are expected to include critical distance, reflection and originality of thought. The written assignments will be evaluated on the defensibility of their analysis in terms of their use of evidence and logical coherence.

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