DV515      Half Unit
Global Environmental Governance

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Kathryn Hochstetler

Dr Tasha Fairfield



This course is available on the MRes/PhD in International Development. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course is for a MRes/PhD 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 theoretical literatures about environmental politics. Only part of global environmental governance takes place in formal spheres specifically devoted to environmental topics. Thus, while about half the course focuses on global efforts to solve environmental problems, especially in international negotiations, the other half examines economic institutions like trade and financial institutions and their intersections with environment and development concerns. Non-state actors including business actors and civil society actors are also considered.

To make the course focused, it considers primarily anthropogenic climate change, biodiversity and forests, and human movement in response to environmental change.


15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars in the LT.

Student on this course will have 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 background 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.
  • Kopinski, D. and Q. Sun. 2014. New Friends, Old Friends? The World Bank and Africa When the Chinese Are Coming. Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations 20(4): 601-623.
  • 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.
  • Neilson, T.D. 2014. The Role of Discourses in Governing Forests to Combat Climate Change. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics 14(3): 265-280.
  • Raustiala, K. and D. Victor. 2004. The Regime Complex for Plant Genetic Resources. International Organization 58(2): 277-309.
  • Warner, K. 2018. Coordinated Approaches to Large-scale Movements of People: Contributions of the Paris Agreement and the Global Compacts for Migration and on Refugees. Populations and Environment 39(4): 384-401.


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Lecture capture used 2021/22: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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