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International Environmental Politics (349-0-20)


Kimberly Ruggles Marion Suiseeya
Office Hours:

Meeting Info

Scott Hall 212: Mon, Wed 2:00PM - 3:20PM

Overview of class

Environmental problems that transcend national borders are amongst the most intractable challenges facing our global community. Collective action problems are pervasive in negotiations and attempts to address, monitor, and enforce international environmental agreements are often weak. Yet, despite these constraints, international actors have designed and secured agreement in a variety of policy arenas, aiming to improve global environmental governance. Through a team-based approach to learning, we will explore how, why, and when the international community is able to overcome collective action problems and effectively address global environmental challenges.

The course is divided into three parts. In the first part of the course, we will focus on the problems, institutions, and politics in global environmental governance. The second part of the course focuses on key concepts or themes in global environmental politics that shape our understanding of international cooperation in solving environmental problems, such as science, justice, markets, and security. In the third part of the course, students will participate in an extended negotiation simulation to examine the diverse actors and modes of engagement that define the politics around a particular issue.

Registration Requirements

Attendance at first class required

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to: (1) Analyze how biophysical, institutional, and political dimensions shape global environmental problems (2) Assess and evaluate the ways in which diverse actors engage in international environmental politics (3) Synthesize information about an issue from multiple, identifiable perspectives (4) Produce a well-researched position paper that effectively communicates sound and logical arguments from the perspective of one actor's position (5) Integrate collaborative approaches in learning, leadership, and problem-solving endeavors

Teaching Method

The course is designed to facilitate active learning. During each session, we will engage in discussions and other collaborative learning activities. Team-based Approach: Students will work in teams throughout the course. The purpose of these teams is to: (1) cultivate student expertise in three areas they are interested in (topic, theme, and actor); (2) practice critical thinking skills through peer tutoring; and, (3) facilitate development of teamwork skills.

Evaluation Method

Quizzes (30%) Analytical Memos/Position Paper (45%): three analytical memos (2-4 pages each)revised into a final paper Negotiation Simulation (25%)

Class Materials (Required)

1. Kate O'Neill (2017). The Environment and International Relations, 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK. ISBN-13: 978-1-107-67171-3.
2. Morin, Jean-Frederic and Amadine Orsini, eds. (2021). Essential Concepts of Global Environmental Governance. Routledge: New York, NY. ISBN: 978-0-367-41869-4