In this course, students will be introduced to key concepts and issues in the study of global environmental politics (GEP), with a particular focus on the political economy of environmental protection. The course will begin by examining various perspectives on why global environmental problems arise and how they can be addressed under different conditions. We will then explore the processes of international environmental governance, including problem identification, policy formulation, multilateral environmental regime design and negotiation and the implementation and enforcement of international environmental law and policy. To enhance understanding of these processes, we will use case studies drawn from the politics of climate change, ozone depletion, air pollution, whaling, hazardous wastes, mercury, deforestation and biodiversity.
The course will then turn to recent issues and debates in global environmental politics, examining examples of non-state global environmental governance, assessing the link between international trade and environmental degradation, exploring the relationship between economic development and environmental quality and examining the relationship between environmental change, violent conflict and human security. Students will develop a nuanced understanding of the complexities involved in environmental protection, including the interplay between politics, power and environmental issues at both the global and local levels.
Throughout the course, we will ask critical questions, such as: What factors contribute to successful treaty negotiations among countries? What types of rules are most effective? What role do non-state actors play in global environmental governance? How can we evaluate the effectiveness of environmental agreements? What obstacles hinder effective environmental agreements?
This course is for 2nd year MIA, MPP and MDS students only.