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Climate Change Politics & Policy
ENVS 4100/3521

Course Description

The objective of this course is to understand, explore and critically analyze how climate changing activities are governed. The class sessions will consist of four main components:

  1. general introduction: mitigation & adaptation; frames, perspectives & responsibilities; impacts
  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

By way of four main themes addressed in the sessions over the semester, we will challenge our thinking about climate change as a problem, develop new frameworks for analyzing climate politics and policy, and discuss practical and conceptual alternatives for mitigation and adaptation actions in our individual and collective lives. Critical engagement in session lectures and discussions with these topics and themes will help us to distinguish patterns, appraise and assess values, and gain insights from a variety of perspectives and viewpoints concerning climate change politics and policy.

Through the class readings, lectures and discussions, course participants will come away with a clear understanding of current international, national, regional, state and local policy activities on climate change. Students will also better understand how these policy formulations and proposals have developed through history. In addition, course participants will gain an improved understanding of the many dynamic and contested factors, pressures and processes that are involved in contemporary climate politics undergirding explicit policy proposals. 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.