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Special Topics in Environmental Policy and Culture (390-0-22)


International Environmental Law and Policy


William Charles Geoffrey Burns
1808 Chicago Avenue
Office Hours: call or email

Meeting Info

Harris Hall L28: Mon, Wed 2:00PM - 3:20PM

Overview of class

Global environmental problems, including the looming threat of climate change, the biodiversity crisis, and increasing pressures on ocean ecosystems due to human activities, have become pressing concerns in recent decades. In response, a sophisticated architecture of global governance has emerged, including through the establishment of hundreds of multi-lateral treaties to confront these threats. As a consequence, nation-States have begun to cooperate with each other to an unprecedented extent, although not without facing significant obstacles, and not without domestic political agendas sometimes delaying or thwarting progress at the international level. This class examines the array of legal regimes, politics, governance processes and policy tools that have emerged in the arena of global environmental law and politics. We will focus on a number of different discrete international environmental problems, as well as how international environmental law is formulated and enforced at the international level. Assignments will include drafting of UN resolutions and simulated UN General Assembly "debates" and a mid-term examination. There will also be substantial small-group work to engage in interpretation of treaties.