IR367      Half Unit
Global Environmental Politics

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Joanna Flavell CBG 10.08


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 not available as an outside option. This course is available with permission to General Course students.

This course has a limited number of places (it is capped).


There are no prerequisites, though some background knowledge of international political economy, such as that provided in IR206 International Political Economy, might 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. The course will explore environmentalism and the greening of society through different theoretical and ideological perspectives.  Throughout the course, students will interrogate what it means to demonstrate ‘environmental leadership’ and examine different environmental actors from non-state actors (NGOs and business), environmental movements and traditional political environmental leaders.  Students will expand their knowledge on different aspects of global environmental politics, engaging with concepts such as Sustainable Development;  private environmental governance; trade and environment;; climate change; biodiversity; deforestation.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Lent Term. Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Indicative List of Topics:

• Introduction: The rise of global environmentalism in international politics

• Environmental Theories and Perspectives

• Global Environmental Governance

• Environmental Movements

• Environmental NGOs and non-state actors

• Global Finance, aid and Sustainable Development

• Multinational corporations and private environmental 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. (2021). Global Environmental Politics (8th 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.

Death, C. (ed.). (2014). Critical environmental politics. Abingdon: Routledge.

Falkner, R. (2021). Environmentalism and Global International Society. Cambridge University 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.

Jinnah, Sikina, & Morin, Jean-Frédéric. (2020). Greening through trade: How American trade policy is linked to environmental protection abroad. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Jordan, A., Huitema, D., van Asselt, H., & Forster, J. (Eds.). (2018). Governing Climate Change: Polycentricity in Action? Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.


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

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
First 31.4
2:1 55.8
2:2 12.8
Third 0
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2021/22: 30

Average class size 2021/22: 15

Capped 2021/22: Yes (30)

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
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills