IR367      Half Unit
Global Environmental Politics

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Robert Falkner FAW.11.01B


This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and Chinese, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


There are no prerequisites, though some background knowledge of international political economy, such as that provided in IR206 International Political Economy, will be useful to students taking this course.

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; 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.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online lectures and in-person classes/classes delivered online. Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.


  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 1 essay in the LT.

Indicative reading

  • Betsill, M. M., K. Hochstetler and D. Stevis, Eds. (2014). Advances in International Environmental Politics. Basingstoke, Palgrave.
  • Biermann, Frank, & Kim, Rakhyun E. (2020). Architectures of Earth System Governance: Institutional Complexity and Structural Transformation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Chasek, Pamela S., Downie, David L., & Brown, Janet Welsh. (2017). Global Environmental Politics (7th edition ed.). London: Routledge.
  • Clapp, J. and P. Dauvergne (2011). Paths to a Green World: The Political Economy of the Global Environment. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.
  • Corry, O. and H. Stevenson (2017). IR and the Earth: Societal multiplicity and planetary singularity. Traditions and Trends in Global Environmental Politics, Earthscan Ltd.
  • 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.
  • Hoffmann, M. J. (2011). Climate Governance at the Crossroads: Experimenting with a Global Response after Kyoto. New York, Oxford University Press.
  • Jinnah, Sikina, & Morin, Jean-Frédéric. (2020). Greening through trade: How American trade policy is linked to environmental protection abroad. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press


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

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
First 21.6
2:1 54.9
2:2 21.6
Third 0
Fail 2

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2019/20: 30

Average class size 2019/20: 15

Capped 2019/20: Yes (30)

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