Not available in 2015/16
DV415      Half Unit
Global Environmental Governance

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Timothy Forsyth CON.8.05


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 Global Politics (Global Civil Society), MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po), 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. Some of this draws upon debates within International Relations, but this course also considers literatures from other forms of environmental politics that consider the formulation, deliberation, and implementation at the sub-state level, and beyond the scope of formal treaties. Indeed, some of the most difficult political problems arise when trying to implement global policy at the sub-state scale, such as the clashes between local forest users in developing countries and international actors implementing ‘global’ climate and biodiversity policies.

To make the course focused, it will consider the three main topics of anthropocentric climate change, biodiversity, and the global regulation of 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 and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of lectures in the ST.

There will be a ninety minute revision session in late LT or early ST.

Formative coursework

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

Indicative reading

There is no single textbook for this course, but we recommend the following as a basic reading list:

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

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

Bulkeley, H. and Newell, P. Governing Climate Change, Routledge, 2010.

Chasek, Pamela S., David L. Downie, and Janet Welsh Brown. Global Environmental Politics, 4th Edition. Boulder: Westview Press, 2006.

Dauvergne, P. (ed) (2005) Handbook of global environmental politics,: Elgar.

Forsyth, T. (2003) Critical Political Ecology, Chapter 7.

Goldman, M. (2005) Imperial nature: the World Bank and struggles for social justice in the age of globalization. New Haven: Yale University Press.

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

Jasanoff and Marybeth Long Martello (eds) (2004) Earthly politics: local and global in environmental governance, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Malone, E. (2009) Debating Climate Change: Pathways through Argument to Agreement, London: Earthscan.

Miller, C. and Edwards, P. (eds) (2001) Changing the atmosphere: expert knowledge and environmental governance. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Newell, P. and Paterson, M. (2010) Climate capitalism : global warming and the transformation of the global economy, Cambridge Uni Press.

O’Neill, K. (2009) The environment and international relations, Cambridge Uni Press.


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

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 15.9
Merit 74.8
Pass 9.3
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 2014/15: 51

Average class size 2014/15: 16

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Lecture capture used 2014/15: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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