Climate Change Politics & Policy

Course Description

We tap into climate politics and policy as we work to understand, explore and critically analyze how climate changing activities are governed. The class sessions consist of four main components:

  1. a general introduction: mitigation and adaptation, loss and damage
  2. climate politics and policy at the national and international levels
  3. climate politics and policy at the sub-national level: regional, state and city-level governance
  4. where climate politics and policy meet the public: non-nation state actors and everyday spaces

2017 is a big year for climate politics and policy. We will anchor our discussions and analyses to the unfolding events around us, from international United Nations-facilitated negotiations to the Boulder city-scale activities. The objective of this course is to explore, understand and critically analyze influences and trends in climate politics and science-policy, stimulating your curiosity and critical engagement along the way. We will gain insights from a variety of perspectives and viewpoints while we improve our understanding of the many dynamic and contested factors, pressures and processes that are involved in contemporary climate politics undergirding explicit policy proposals.

Structured through both lectures and seminar-style discussions, class sessions work through the historically-sensitive and culturally-situated climate governance at multiple scales.

Sessions critically interrogate movements and dynamics in climate politics and science-policy decision-making. As examples, course participants consider assessments, critiques and proposals:

  • to improve governance architectures shaping climate decision-making (from the mild corrective to radical restructuring),
  • to reduce emissions while attending to climate adaptation, vulnerability and resilience
  • to (equitably/justly) divide up a remaining 500 billion tons of Carbon that can still be emitted
  • to decarbonize industry and society at multiple levels

Overall, students who critically engage with the course themes, concepts and case studies can expect to complete the semester better equipped to understand, analyze and engage in the high-stakes 21st century arena of climate politics and policy.