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International Environmental Politics
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LANGUAGE: English 

SEMESTER: First Semester

TYPE: Elective course

The environment has become a key issue in international policy. This is not surprising, as environmental problems are often across borders and usually require solutions that involve cooperation between states. International interests, ideas and institutions have therefore been drawn up to define who gets what in this area. The internationalisation of environmental policies has been taking place for the past four decades; since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm in 1972. Since then, states, intergovernmental organisations, companies, NGOs and scientists have deployed a considerable amount of resources to promote, influence or make difficult the progress of negotiations on international environmental agreements. Climate change is by far the best known aspect of international environmental policy, but there is an extremely dense network of agreements, norms and negotiations on a good number of other environmental problems, including biodiversity, bio-security, acid rain, stratospheric ozone, desertification, the trade of endangered species, dangerous waste, whales, the Antarctic and sea pollution, etc.

The subject familiarises students with both analytical tools and basic empirical knowledge on international environmental policy. More specifically, students develop a wide, critical understanding of international negotiations and agreements, in terms of results, the objectives of the different actors, their motivations, the resources they are able to mobilise, alliances and interests at stake. The subject therefore focuses on analytical as well as empirical aspects of international environmental policy.
The final grade will depend on three different components:
  • Participation in the final debate over the COP21 (Paris 2015) (15%). A debate will be organized in the final session (with instructions provided at the beginning of the course) on the climate conference to be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11.
  • One short essay and presentation (25%). Each student will write and present a 1000 words essay on the topic of one session. Essays and topics will be assigned at the beginning of the course.
  • One final paper (60%). Students will write a final 2500 words paper. Research questions for the final paper will be agreed with the lecturer during the second week of the course