DV415      Half Unit
Global Environmental Governance

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Kathryn Hochstetler


This course is available on the MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, MSc in Accounting, Organisations and Institutions, 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 Environmental Policy and Regulation, MSc in Global Politics, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in International Relations (Research), MSc in Political Economy of Late Development, MSc in Public Administration and Government (LSE and Peking University), 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.

Students will be allocated places to courses with priority to ID and joint-degree students.  If there are more ID and joint-degree students than the course can accommodate, these spots will be allocated randomly.  

Non-ID/Joint Degree students will be allocated to spare places by random selection with the preference given first to those degrees where the regulations permit this option.

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 primarily anthropocentric climate change, 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.


20 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of lectures in the ST.

There will be a Reading Week in week 6.

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.


Essay (20%, 2000 words) and take home exam (80%) in the ST.

Teachers' comment

This course considers the politics of making environmental policy 'global' in relation to climate change, bio-diversity, and forests. Because its focus is on global negotiations and institutions (political and economic), it can be taken in addition to DV413.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2018/19: 49

Average class size 2018/19: 12

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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