Not available in 2023/24
PP417A      Half Unit
The Practice of Effective Climate Policy

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Mr Nicholas Rowley CBG.5.27


This course is available on the Double Master of Public Administration (LSE-Columbia), Double Master of Public Administration (LSE-Sciences Po), Double Master of Public Administration (LSE-University of Toronto), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Hertie), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and NUS), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Tokyo), MPA in Data Science for Public Policy, Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Policy. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Preference will be given to students in the School of Public Policy. Students from other LSE departments and schools can seek permission to be accepted on the course.

Course content

This course will introduce students to the climate problem and the ways in which policy might be effectively used to address it. Having established a shared knowledge of basic climate science and what we know about the historical relationship between human activity and the concentration of carbon and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, it will examine questions such as:

  • how might we think and consider the problem?
  • why we disagree?
  • the necessary tension between science and politics, and
  • what the policy approaches are that will have a measurable impact on the stock and supply of harmful emissions.

Ways to incentivise and achieve emissions reduction, adaptation and sequestration of greenhouse and gases will also be presented and considered.

The course will be structured around topics which are both relevant to political and policy deliberation and being researched in the academic world. The emphasis will be on revealing how a deep and broad understanding of climate politics and policy can - whether working in government, the private sector or advocacy - give students the tools and ability to make a difference. Forming half of their assessed work, and using the foundational content shared in class, students will be encouraged to concentrate on a climate policy challenge / approach which they find particularly interesting or important.

Through reference to academic literature and analysis classes 1 to 8 will allow students to develop a broad foundational understanding. Based on what has been learnt in the earlier sessions, the final two classes will allow students to engage in a sophisticated and informed analysis of climate policy practice.


20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of workshops in the AT.

Formative coursework

  • Group presentation plan
  • Short (2,000 word) essay
  • One page (500 word) policy memo

Indicative reading

  • Global warming – the Complete Briefing by Sir John Houghton
  • The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change – A Guide to the Debate by Andrew Dessler and Edward Parson
  • Why We Disagree About Climate Change – Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity by Mike Hulmemt
  • Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes
  • Governing the Commons by Elinor Ostrom
  • The Economics of Climate Change – The Stern Review by Nicholas Stern


Presentation (40%) and essay (60%, 3000 words) in the AT.

40% Class presentations (in classes 2-8 through the term)

Key facts

Department: School of Public Policy

Total students 2022/23: Unavailable

Average class size 2022/23: Unavailable

Controlled access 2022/23: No

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
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness