LL4A6      Half Unit
Climate Change and International Law

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Giulia Claudia Leonelli


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time), MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation, MSc in Environmental Policy, Technology and Health (Environmental Policy and Regulation) (LSE and Peking University), MSc in Human Rights and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


This course has a limited number of places and demand is typically high. This may mean that you’re not able to get a place on this course.

Course content

This course covers international law in relation to climate change with a view to assessing how the harms and burdens associated with climate change are governed and allocated in different legal regimes. The course adopts the stance that the political and ethical questions raised by climate change cannot be addressed by reference to climate change law or international environmental law alone. Climate change gives rise to a series of profound problems touching upon a range of bodies of law (trade, human rights, migration, state responsibility) in a complex political and ethical environment. In approaching climate change as a concrete concern relevant to these various bodies of law and practice, the course will address the normative bases for choosing between actions designed to prevent and/or manage climate change and its consequences. Projected seminars include: climate change and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities; the regulatory architecture of the Paris Agreement; carbon border measures and climate clubs; climate change and trade law; human rights law; migration law.


This course will have two hours of teaching content each week in Winter Term. There will be a Reading Week in Week 6 of Winter Term.

Formative coursework

One 1,800 word essay to be submitted by the end of Week 6.

Indicative reading

IPCC, Synthesis Report of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), IPCC (2023); Benoit Mayer, The International Law on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press (2018); Daniel Bodansky, Jutta Brunnée and Lavanya Rajamani, International Climate Change Law, Oxford University Press (2017); Daniel Klein et al (eds), The Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Analysis and Commentary, Oxford University Press (2017); Benoit Mayer, International Law Obligations on Climate Change Mitigation, Oxford University Press (2022); Lavanya Rajamani, Differential Treatment in International Law, Oxford University Press (2006); Stephen Humphreys (ed), Climate Change and Human Rights, Cambridge University Press (2010); Margaret Young (ed), Regime Interaction in International Law: Facing Fragmentation, Cambridge University Press (2012); Anne Saab, Narratives of Hunger in International Law: Feeding the World in Times of Climate Change, Cambridge University Press (2019).


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the spring exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law School

Total students 2022/23: 24

Average class size 2022/23: 25

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

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

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills