Global climate governance

This course introduces students to key topics in contemporary climate change economics and governance. Starting with a review of the adverse impacts of climate change, we examine various response options ranging from renewable energies and international climate policy efforts (including the recent COP-21 in Paris) to novel types of transnational and multi-level governance arrangements. While the course draws on economic concepts throughout, no formal analytical skills are required. Questions addressed in this class include: How to balance climate change impacts and mitigation efforts? What are the economic prospects of renewable energy sources? Which policy instruments are suggested by climate economics, which practical political economy challenges arise in implementing them, and what are options to address these challenges? What are challenges and options for international climate policy efforts? What are options for climate leadership by and beyond the nation-state? What are potential roles for experts in the policy process? 

In the final sessions of the course – after the Master Thesis submission date – students will form small groups that provide brief presentations on specific climate policy case studies in Germany, California and India. Students will select these projects at the beginning of the term to facilitate preparation, based on guidance provided by the instructor. Additional grading tools are a final essay (max. 4.000 words), the topic of which may be the same as the presentation topic; and two memos (max. 1000 words each). 

Students successfully completing the course will have an understanding of structural challenges and options as well as an overview of contemporary global climate governance developments, and should be able to use basic tools for climate policy analysis. They should understand key drivers and constraints of the climate policy process from the perspective of various actors. 

The themes are taught by combining lectures, discussion of readings, and student presentations. Memos, the final paper and small-group presentations are designed to enhance the students’ ability to research topics in a concise and timely manner using a variety of resources, to effectively present material in written and oral formats, and to work in teams. Concepts are directly applied in the student projects.