DV415      Half Unit
Global Environmental Governance

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Kathryn Hochstetler


This course is available on the MPA in International Development, MSc in Accounting, Organisations and Institutions, MSc in African Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development Management, MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Environment and Development, MSc in Global Politics, MSc in Health, Community and Development, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in International Relations (Research), MSc in Public Policy and Administration and MSc in Regulation. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Please note that in case of over-subscription to this course priority will be given to students from the Department of International Development and its joint degrees (where their regulations permit). This course is capped at 45 students.

Course content

This course is for any MSc student who wishes to study the politics of global environmental policy from the perspective of environmental governance and international development. The aim is to summarise debates about ‘global’ environmental problems and to review the contributions of debates about ‘governance’ to political solutions. The main theoretical focus of the course is on understanding the evolution of environmental policy regimes at multiple scales and with multiple actors. The guiding empirical focus is on the role of developing countries in global environmental governance and the effects of environmental policy regimes on their development strategies and outcomes. Some of this draws upon debates within International Relations, but this course also considers other literatures about environmental politics. Only part of global environmental governance takes place in formal spheres specifically devoted to environmental topics. Economic institutions like trade and financial institutions also play a key role and are covered here.

To make the course focused, it will consider the three main topics of anthropocentric climate change, energy, and biodiversity and forests. In addition, these topics will be analysed from the perspective of the role of states and inter-state agreements; business actors and non-governmental organisations (NGOs); the regulation of trade; and the evolution of financial assistance, including from the World Bank.


15 hours of lectures, 1 hour and 30 minutes of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT.

This includes a ninety minute revision session in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT.

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list will be presented at the beginning of the term. There is no single textbook for this course, but we recommend the following as a basic reading list:

Betsill, M. and Corell, E. (eds). 2007. NGO Diplomacy: The Influence of Nongovernmental Organizations in International Environmental Negotiations, MIT Press.

Biermann, F, Pattberg, P. and Zelli, F. (eds). 2010. Global Climate Governance Beyond 2012: Architecture, Agency and Adaptation, Cambridge University Press.

Ciplet, D., J.T. Roberts, and M.R. Khan. 2015. Power in a Warming World: The New Global Politics of Climate Change and the Remaking of Environmental Inequality. MIT Press.

Gallagher, K.S. 2014. The Globalization of Clean Energy Technology: Lessons from China. MIT Press.

Humphreys D. 2009. Logjam: Deforestation and the Crisis of Global Governance, Earthscan.

Lewis, J.I. 2014. The Rise of Renewable Energy Protectionism: Emerging Trade Conflicts and Implications for Low Carbon Development. Global Environmental Politics 14(4): 10-35.

Najam, A. 2005. Developing Countries and Global Environmental Governance: From Contestation to Participation to Engagement. International Environmental Agreements 5: 303-321.

Newell, P. and J.T. Roberts (eds). 2016. The Globalization and Environment Reader. Wiley.

Raustiala, K. and D. Victor. 2004. The Regime Complex for Plant Genetic Resources. International Organization 58(2): 277-309.


Exam (80%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (20%, 2000 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 23.6
Merit 62.6
Pass 13.8
Fail 0

Teachers' comment

This course considers the politics of making environmental policy 'global' in relation to climate change, bio-diversity, and forests. It's more practical than DV413 because it discusses current policy negotiations, but the course can be done in addition to DV413.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2015/16: Unavailable

Average class size 2015/16: Unavailable

Controlled access 2015/16: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills