IR467      Half Unit
Global Environmental Politics

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Robert Falkner CBG.8.02


This course is available on the MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change, MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation, MSc in Global Politics, MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International Political Economy, MSc in International Political Economy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Political Economy (Research), MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (Research), MSc in Political Science and Political Economy and MSc in Regulation. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

All students are required to obtain permission from the Teacher Responsible by completing the Student Statement box on the online application form linked to course selection on LSE for You. Admission is not guaranteed.

Course content

An introduction to concepts and issues in the study of global environmental politics, with special emphasis on the political economy of environmental protection. Environmentalism and the greening of international society; ecological perspectives on international political economy; domestic sources of environmental diplomacy; environmental leadership in international negotiations; international environmental regimes and their effectiveness; the role of nonstate actors (business, NGOs); corporate environmentalism; private environmental governance; trade and environment; international environmental aid; greening foreign direct investment; climate change; biosafety regulation; deforestation.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour of lectures in the ST.


1. Introduction: The rise of global environmentalism in international politics

2. States and foreign environmental policy

3. Nonstate actors (NGOs and business) in global environmental politics

4. International environmental regimes and regime effectiveness

5. International trade and global environmental protection

6. Global finance, aid and sustainable development

7. Multinational corporations and private environmental governance

8. Climate change: international negotiations and multi-level governance

9. Biosafety: scientific uncertainty and the politics of precaution

10. Deforestation: non-regimes and private governance

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 essays in the LT.

Indicative reading

  • Biermann, F. and P. Pattberg, Eds. (2012). Global Environmental Governance Reconsidered. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press.
  • Chasek, P. S. and L. M. Wagner (2012). The Roads from Rio: Lessons Learned from Twenty Years of Multilateral Environmental Negotiations. New York, RFF Press.
  • Clapp, J. and P. Dauvergne (2011). Paths to a Green World: The Political Economy of the Global Environment. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.
  • Falkner, R. (2008). Business Power and Conflict in International Environmental Politics. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Falkner, R., Ed. (2016). The Handbook of Global Climate and Environment Policy. Cheltenham, John Wiley & Sons.


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

The final examination lasts 2 hours and students will be asked to answer 2 out of 8 questions.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2018/19: 38

Average class size 2018/19: 13

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills