LL4A6      Half Unit
Climate Change and International Law

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Stephen Humphreys NAB5.12


This course is available on the MSc in Environment and Development, MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation, MSc in Human Rights, Master of Laws and Master of Laws (extended part-time study). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is capped at 30 students. Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSEforYou.

Course content

This course covers the international law dealing with climate change with a view to assessing how the harms and burdens associated with climate change are governed and allocated in different legal regimes. The course adopts the stance that the political and legal questions raised by climate change cannot be addressed by reference to climate change law alone or even international environmental law as a whole. Climate change gives rise to a series of profound problems touching upon a range of bodies of law (trade, human rights, migration, investment, state responsibility) in a complex political and ethical environment. In approaching climate change as a concrete concern relevant to these various bodies of law and practice, the course will address the normative bases for choosing between actions designed to prevent and/or manage climate change and its consequences, given developmental imperatives and the concerns raised by the 'fragmented' nature of international law. Projected seminars include: climate change science; politics; ethics; theory of international law; international environmental law; trade law; human rights law; migration law. The course includes two case studies, from among the following: climate technology transfer; the green economy; carbon markets; food security.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

There will be a reading week in week 6. 

Formative coursework

One 2,000 word essay.

Indicative reading

Rosemary Rayfuse and Shirley Scott (eds.), International Law in the Era of Climate Change, Edward Elgar (2011) Stephen Gardiner, Simon Caney, Dale Jamieson and Henry Shue (Eds.), Climate Ethics: Essential Readings, Oxford University Press (2010); Nicholas Stern, The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2007); IPCC, Fourth Assessment Report, Cambridge University Press (2007); Stephen Humphreys (ed.), Climate Change and Human Rights, Cambridge University Press (2009); Larry Lohmann, Carbon Trading, Dag Hammerskjöld Foundation (2006); Lavanya Rajamani, Differential Treatment in International Environmental Law, Oxford University Press (2006); Margaret Young (ed.), Regime Interaction in International Law: Facing Fragmentation, Cambridge University Press (2012).


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2015/16: 30

Average class size 2015/16: 27

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills