GY475      Half Unit
Issues in Environmental Governance

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Michael Mason, Dr Eugenie Dugoua, Dr Meredith Whitten and Dr Nora Sylvander


This course is available on the MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Environment and Development, MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change, MSc in Environmental Policy, Technology and Health (Environment and Development) (LSE and Peking University), MSc in Environmental Policy, Technology and Health (Environmental Economics and Climate Change) (LSE and Peking University), 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.


In the Department of Geography and Environment, teaching will be delivered through a combination of classes/seminars, pre-recorded lectures, live online lectures, in-person lectures and other supplementary interactive live activities.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures across the Lent Term.


This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Lent Term.

Formative coursework

All students are required to make one presentation on an agreed topic: feedback will be provided. 

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.


Take-home assessment (100%) in the ST.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 45.2
Merit 45.2
Pass 9.7
Fail 0

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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: Geography & Environment

Total students 2020/21: 15

Average class size 2020/21: 4

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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