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icono de curso

International Environmental Politics


Credits: 4 ECTS

Second semester

Elective Courses




The environment has become a major topic in international relations. Given the fact that environmental problems are typically of a cross-border nature, they are prone to be dealt with through international cooperation. Thus, interests, ideas and institutions have come into play that shape the who gets what in this domain. This has been particularly so for the last four decades, the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm) being usually taken as the first significant instance of global environmental diplomacy. Since then, states, intergovernmental organizations, businesses, NGOs and scientists all deploy considerable resources in order to foster, influence or derail the negotiation of international agreements on the environment. There is a broad web of conventions, norms, and negotiations addressing a myriad of other environmental problems, including climate change, biodiversity, bio-safety, acid rain, stratospheric ozone, desertification, trade of endangered species, hazardous wastes, whales, the Antarctic, and marine pollution, among others.

The course addresses both the analytical and empirical components of international environmental politics. Sessions are designed to link the analytical and conceptual discussion (the study of actors, power, interests, institutions, ideas, etc.) with the presentation of specific international negotiations, conferences and regimes. Core readings have been selected to fit this purpose. In addition, we will take advantage from the fact that the 23 Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (Bonn), the first with Trump as President of the US, will take place in November.


The final grade will depend on three different components:

  • Participation at class (10%). Students are expected to be active and informed participants at class.
  • One short essay and presentation (30%). 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.