SP443      Half Unit
Social Policy of Climate Change

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr. Liam F. Beiser-McGrath is an Assistant Professor in International Social and Public Policy in the Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. They are also the organiser of EPG Online, an online seminar series covering Environmental Politics and Governance.

Their research primarily focuses on the political economy of climate change, using experimental research designs and machine learning. This research has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Science Advances, Nature Climate Change, Comparative Political Studies, Political Analysis, Global Environmental Politics, Regulation and Governance, Political Science Research & Methods, Climatic Change, and the Journal of Public Policy.


This course is available on the MSc in International Social and Public Policy, MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Development), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Education), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (LSE and Fudan), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Migration), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Non-Governmental Organisations) and MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Research). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

All Social Policy Courses are ‘Controlled Access’. Please see the link below for further details on the allocation process.


Course content

Climate change is one of the world’s most pressing problems with significant implications for human’s welfare and wellbeing both now and in the future. Swift and significant policy action is therefore necessary to both adapt to and mitigate climate change.

This course examines the social and public policy of climate change, from both a domestic and international perspective, drawing on research from disciplines such as economics, political science, public policy, and social policy. In doing so, the course is divided in to three parts:

  • First, the course documents the nature of the problem at hand by exploring the measurement of climate change and its possible human and societal impacts.
  • Second, we focus on policy responses to climate change, examining how policy is formulated and implemented at both the domestic and international level.
  • Finally, the course focuses on applying these insights and tools to issues such as economic development, migration, non-governmental organisations, and political violence.

In completing the course students will have a fuller understanding of the societal impacts of climate change and policy responses, with an eye to communicating scientific evidence to an audience of academics, policymakers, and stakeholders.


All teaching will be in accordance with the LSE Academic Code (https://info.lse.ac.uk/current-students/lse-academic-code) which specifies a "minimum of two hours taught contact time per week when the course is running in the Autumn Term (AT) and/or Winter Term (WT)". Social Policy courses are predominantly taught through a combination of in-person Lectures and In person classes/seminars. Further information will be provided by the Course Convenor in the first lecture of the course. The course will be taught in the WT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the WT.

The formative coursework consists of a 500 word outline of the student's planned scientific review (summative coursework). Students should outline their topic of interest and some examples of relevant scientific literature. From there students will explain how they plan on conducting the full review and the type of questions/problems this review will be able to help answer.

Indicative reading

Readings will consist of academic articles and/or selected chapters from books for each. There is no one textbook for the course.

Illustrative Readings:

  • IPCC.Global Warming of 1.5â—¦C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 â—¦C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. 2018
  • Simon Dietz, Alex Bowen, Baran Doda, Ajay Gambhir, and Rachel Warren. The economics of 1.5 â—¦c climate change. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 43 (1):455–480, 2018a. doi: 10.1146/annurev-environ-102017-025817. URL https://doi. org/10.1146/annurev-environ-102017-025817
  • Chukwumerije Okereke and Philip Coventry. Climate justice and the international regime: before, during, and after paris. WIREs Climate Change, 7(6):834–851, 2016. doi: 10.1002/wcc.419. URL https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/wcc. 419
  • Elinor Ostrom. Coping with tragedies of the commons. Annual Review of Political Science, 2(1):493, 1999. ISSN 10942939. URL http://0-search.ebscohost.com.serlib0. essex.ac.uk/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=5366745&site=ehost-live
  • Nives DolÅ¡ak and Aseem Prakash. Three faces of climate justice. Annual Review of Political Science, Forthcoming
  • Seema Jayachandran. How Economic Development Influences the Environment. Annual Review of Economics, 14(1):229–252, 2022. doi: 10.1146/annurev-economics-082321-123803.
  • Michele M. Betsill and Elisabeth Corell. Ngo influence in international environmental negotiations: A framework for analysis. Global Environmental Politics, 1(4):65–85,2001. doi: 10.1162/152638001317146372. URL https://doi.org/10.1162/152638001317146372
  • Celia McMichael. Climatic and environmental change, migration, and health. Annual Review of Public Health, 44(1):null, 2023. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-071421-045148. URL https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-071421-045148. PMID: 36542773
  • Vally Koubi. Climate change and conflict. Annual Review of Political Science, 22(1): 343–360, 2019. doi: 10.1146/annurev-polisci-050317-070830. URL https://doi.org/ 10.1146/annurev-polisci-050317-070830


Essay (100%, 3500 words) in the WT.

The summative assignment consists of a scientific review article on a topic of the student’s choice. This format requires engaging in more depth with the scientific literature, and should be pitched toward a more informed consumer of research such as practitioners and policy makers. The essay should provide a broad and systematic overview of research relating to the chosen topic. In doing so the essay should organize, evaluate, and synthesise the literature in order to identify patterns, trends, and gaps requiring further research.

Key facts

Department: Social 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

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills