International Environmental Law & Politics
This course provides a foundation in the core concepts, actors, drivers and institutions of global environmental politics and governance. The first half of the class focuses on global environmental politics and the second on international environmental law and more broadly, global environmental governance (GEG). The first half of the class is divided into two parts. Part One explores the state of the global environment, the nature of global environmental problems and the key actors in global environmental politics. Part Two examines seven underlying drivers of global environmental degradation: 1) technology, especially energy; 2) consumption; 3) values/cultural norms; 4) globalization; 5) capitalism and the growth imperative; 6) poverty and inequality; and 7 population growth. For each driver, we will explore a core conceptual framework and then consider and critically evaluate how it relates to global environmental problems, especially climate change. The second half of the class will examine international environmental regimes, including legal treaties and “soft law”. It will evaluate the overall effectiveness of global environmental governance (GEG) in addressing the underlying drivers of global environmental degradation and solving global environmental problems, especially climate change and biodiversity loss. The course will analyze and debate proposals to improve GEG, including the creation of a World Environment Organization, an increased role for regional governance, and a “multi-level” approach centered on a greater role for cities.