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Climate change has traditionally been a topic of interest to those interested in the environment. However, it is increasingly being understood as a phenomenon which is driving systemic change to the structure of the economy and the financial system. This subject offers students this economic perspective of climate change law and policy. It considers a range of legal, policy and financial tools that governments around the world have used to try and manage climate change, such as carbon pricing, green fiscal spending, climate risk disclosure and emissions regulations. It critically evaluates these legal, financial and policy approaches, and the economic theory underpinning them.
The course will introduce students to these climate change legal and policy approaches through case studies across different themes (carbon markets, sustainable finance, energy, transportation) and geographies. Guest speakers with legal, sustainable investment and public policy backgrounds will join the course to speak to some of these case studies. By drawing together economic theory and practitioner-informed case studies, the course will provide students with the knowledge, tools, and networks to critically assess and participate in the future development of regulatory regimes, policies and financial mechanisms which might help arrest global warming.
Principal topics will include:
- An introduction to climate science,
- Key debates in climate change economics
- International and domestic law frameworks
- Market-based legal mechanisms: pricing carbon externalities
- Information based regulatory approaches to carbon emissions
- Emerging legal risks – greenwashing, climate litigation and investor actions
- Green industrial policy, state-owned enterprises and innovation ecosystems
- Emissions caps, performance standards and other forms of regulation
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject should be able to:
- Describe the way in which economic theories have influenced climate change law and policy development
- Ask considered questions to expert practitioners working on climate change law, policy and finance about economic and legal principles underpinning their work
- Explain a range of legal and policy mechanisms for managing carbon emissions, including market-based mechanisms, information-based mechanisms, green industrial policy mechanisms and regulatory approaches with references to the economic theories underpinning them
- Evaluate a climate change law and policy mechanism designed to manage emissions in the economy, and analyse its effectiveness through a detailed research paper.
Last updated: 1 March 2024