GY475      Half Unit
Issues in Environmental Governance

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Richard Perkins S413, Dr Michael Mason S510 and Dr Eugenie Dugoua


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 Development Studies, MSc in Environment and Development, MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change, MSc in Local Economic Development, MSc in Regulation, MSc in Risk and Finance and MSc in Urban Policy (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course cannot be taken with GY465 Concepts in Environmental Regulation or GY420 Environmental Regulation: Implementing Policy.


The number of students that can be accommodated is limited. If the course is over-subscribed, places will be allocated at the Department’s discretion and a waiting list may be created. For further details, please contact your relevant Programme Coordinator.

Course content

This Lent Term course is designed to highlight key themes impacting on environmental regulation across different scales of governance. While the emphasis is on global and transnational policy processes, attention is also paid to the implications of these processes at regional and local scales. The organising framework of 'multi-level governance' suggests new alignments and forms of regulation which require us to consider environmental decision-making within and beyond the territorial authority of a single state. The indicative themes chosen explore distinctive challenges for multi-level governance - governing technological change, international negotiations, governance beyond the state, and different rationalities of regulation (science, ethics and justice). These themes, which will be explored in student-led seminars, run explicitly or implicitly through many environmental policy debates.


10 hours of lectures and 13 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

All students are required to make one presentation on an agreed topic: this will be graded with feedback for individual students.

Indicative reading


While there is no one single text that covers all aspects of the course, students are advised to consult the following:

Barrett, S. (2005) Environment and Statecraft: The Strategy of Environmental Treaty-Making, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gupta, A. and M Mason (eds.) (2014) Transparency in Global Environmental Governance, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Li, T. (2007) The Will to Improve: Governmentality, Development and the Practice of Politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Piattoni, S. (2010) The Theory of Multi-level Governance, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Randall, A. (2011) Risk and Precaution, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 22.6
Merit 48.4
Pass 25.8
Fail 3.2

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2018/19: 9

Average class size 2018/19: 3

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication