IR467      Half Unit
Political Economy of Climate Change

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Noah Zucker [Office TBC]


This course is available on the MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change, MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation, MSc in Environmental Policy, Technology and Health (Environmental Economics and Climate Change) (LSE and Peking University), MSc in Environmental Policy, Technology and Health (Environmental Policy and Regulation) (LSE and Peking University), 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 Political Science (Global Politics), MSc in Political Science (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 online application form linked to course selection on LSE for You. Admission is not guaranteed.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access) and demand is typically high.

Course content

Why has climate change proven to be such a challenging issue for global governance? How will intensified climate disruptions and decarbonization transform countries' economies and politics? Who are the winners and losers of these transitions and how are they shaping climate governance today? This course will address these questions in a survey of the political economy of climate change. We will explore cutting-edge research on climate politics and critically analyze various theoretical concepts and models, assess the advantages and drawbacks of different empirical approaches, and draw connections to core debates in international political economy and political science. Students will gain familiarity with the frontier of climate politics scholarship, learn how to constructively critique academic work, and develop skills in designing and executing rigorous political economy research.


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

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce an outline of the summative climate research proposal in the WT.

Indicative reading

Maria Waldinger. 2022. “The Economic Effects of Long-Term Climate Change: Evidence from the Little Ice Age.” Journal of Political Economy 130(9): 2275–2314.

Timothy Mitchell. 2011. Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil. New York: Verso.

Robert Falkner. 2016. “The Paris Agreement and the New Logic of International Climate Politics.” International Affairs 92(5): 1107–1125.

Richard Clark and Noah Zucker. 2023. “Climate Cascades: IOs and the Prioritization of Climate Action.” American Journal of Political Science (forthcoming).

Scott Barrett. 2003. Environment and Statecraft: The Strategy of Environmental Treaty-Making. New York: Oxford University Press.

Amanda Kennard. 2020. “The Enemy of My Enemy: When Firms Support Climate Change Regulation.” International Organization 74(2): 187–221.

Sarah Bush and Amanda Clayton. 2023. “Facing Change: Gender and Climate Change Attitudes Worldwide.” American Political Science Review 117(2): 591–608.

Nikhar Gaikwad, Federica Genovese, and Dustin Tingley. 2022. “Creating Climate Coalitions: Mass Preferences for Compensating Vulnerability in the World’s Two Largest Democracies.” American Political Science Review 116(4): 1165–1183.

Sabrina Arias and Christopher Blair. 2022. “Changing Tides: Public Attitudes on Climate Migration.” Journal of Politics 84(1): 560–567.

Erin Graham and Alexandria Serdaru. 2020. “Power, Control, and the Logic of Substitution in Institutional Design: The Case of International Climate Finance.” International Organization 74(4): 671–706.


Research proposal (100%) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 31.6
Merit 63.8
Pass 4.6
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2022/23: 59

Average class size 2022/23: 15

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: 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