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This subject provides a comprehensive and critical introduction to global environmental politics. It introduces the ethical, political and institutional challenges raised by the global environmental crisis and the key political, policy and institutional responses. The subject critically explores different environmental worldviews and discourses, the environmental treaty system, the complex relationship between global environmental and economic governance and new forms of private and civil environmental regulation. The role of key non-state actors will also be examined, including the diversity of environmental movements and their critics and the changing practices of corporations. Key global debates about sustainable development, green growth, environmental justice and ecological security will be explored along with a range of topics and case studies, including the global politics of climate change and biodiversity protection, the relationship between trade and environment, the precautionary principle, the relationship between scientific expertise and environmental policy and the politics of risk. Questions of gender and ethnicity are explicitly addressed in the syllabus.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should:
- Understand and critically compare the competing frameworks for understanding global environmental politics within mainstream international relations theory and the more critical field of global political ecology;
- demonstrate a broad understanding of the diverse ideological character and claims of the modern environment movement and the major lines of political contestation in the broader global environmental debate;
- recognise the major environment and development tensions and debates within the national, international and global communities, particularly the sustainable development debate and the tensions between environmental and economic global governance;
- be able to identify the different ways in which new environmental issues, actors, interests and agendas have challenged the basic norms and institutions of global governance, particularly the system of sovereign states, environmental multilateralism, and the norms and institutions of global economic governance;
- be able to evaluate critically the different global institutional responses to global ecological problems;
- Communicate effectively in oral and written formats.
Last updated: 20 February 2024