POLCY318-20B (HAM)

Global Environmental Politics and Policy

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences
Political Science and Public Policy


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: frances.douch@waikato.ac.nz

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Paper Description

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This paper is an introduction to the exciting and important field of global environmental politics and policy. We will look at environmental policy development in the international arena, examining how competing interests, values and a range of actors have shaped the nature of global politics and policy. We will explore contemporary debates on issues of sustainability, social justice, and environmental governance. We will seek to understand the political structures and processes underpinning the search for cooperative solutions to environmental dilemmas such as climate change policy.

To do this, we will engage in a collective project of study, involving lectures and intensive class discussions of course readings and case studies. There are no prerequisites for the course other than an interest in the subject and a willingness to work and participate actively.

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Paper Structure

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This paper is delivered over B semester through one online lesson and one workshop session per week. In-class sessions are interactive, involving active class participation in discussion of readings, videos, and cases, as well as an environmental treaty negotiations role play. There are a number of assigned readings for each week that are introduced in the online lesson along with key concepts.

I find this subject compelling, provoking and important. I will endeavour to make the class interesting and fun by using a variety of learning techniques and exercises. All of these involve you in some mode of active learning, of learning by doing. My goals for this class are to collectively deepen our understanding of global environmental politics and policy, sharpen our critical thinking skills, improve our ability to write and speak well, and strengthen our capacity to work collaboratively with others.

Please plan on doing the following to ensure you get the most out of this paper:

  • Familiarise yourself with this course outline, course requirements and expectations, and all assessments.
  • Read all assigned materials on time - before coming to class.

Oral and written communication skills are an essential part of education and a prerequisite to learning about politics, public policy, and public administration. These skills are not only important in this course but will be beneficial in your future career and your role as a citizen. Learning to write well is something only you can do through your own hard work, but there are resources available to assist you. I will be as helpful as I can in providing specific suggestions, comments and encouragement.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • Describe and analyse basic features of environmental policy development in the international arena
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  • Identify the ways in which local, national and transnational activity, including the work of individuals, intergovernmental organisations and nongovernmental organisations, affect environmental politics.
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  • Explain how political and policy challenges posed by environmental problems and sustainable development transform our understandings of citizenship, politics and regulation.
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  • Use a set of arguments from one reading and apply them to critically analyse a different issue or set of arguments.
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  • Advance a normative position on critical matters of global environmental politics, backing this judgement with sound arguments and evidence.
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  • Work collaboratively with others and demonstrate this skill in group presentations and negotiations.
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  • Demonstrate critical thinking and analytical skills in written essays, presentations and class discussions.
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Attendance and participation are recommended at every workshop session. In line with University guidelines, attendance via zoom is possible for those students who have a legitimate reason for not attending in person. Students will need to indicate by Week 1 if they intend to physically attend class meetings on campus or virtually via zoom.

Participation in the treaty negotiation role play is required. These will take place in-class during weeks 11 and 12.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Online lessons
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Reading Commentaries
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Critical Review
18 Aug 2020
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Group Climate Treaty Negotiations Project
  • In Class: In Workshop
5. Treaty Negotiation Analysis Paper (Individual)
16 Oct 2020
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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  1. Nicholson, S. & Wapner, P. (eds) (2015) Global Environmental Politics: From Person to Planet. Paradigm Publishers
  2. Additional course readings will be made available via the Waikato Reading List. A link to the Reading List will be posted on the Moodle page for POLCY318­-20B.

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Recommended Readings

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Bhavnani, K-K., Foran, J., Kurian, P. & Munshi, D. (Eds). (2019) Climate Futures: Reimagining Global Climate Justice. London: Zed Books.

Chasek, P., Downie, D., & Brown, J. 2017. Global Environmental Politics,7th ed. Westview Press.

Chivers, D. 2010. The No-Nonsense Guide to Climate Change: The Science, the Solutions, the Way Forward.Oxford: New Internationalist.

Clapp, J. & Dauvergne, P. 2011. Paths to a Green World, 2nd ed. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Dessler, A. & Parson, E. 2006. The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change: A Guide to the Debate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dryzek, J., Norgaard, R., & Schlosberg, D. (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Klein, Naomi. 2014. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate. London, New York: Allen Lane.

Mitchell, Ronald. 2010. International Politics and the Environment. London: Sage.

Monbiot, G. 2006. Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning. London & New York: Allen Lane.

O’Neill, K. 2017. The Environment and International Relations. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Princen, T., Maniates, M. & Conca, K. 2002. Confronting Consumption. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Roberts, J.T. and Parks, B.C. 2006. Climate of Injustice: Global Inequality, North­ South Politics, and Climate Policy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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Online Support

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The paper offers online support through Moodle. Moodle is available on the University website. The course outline, all lecture notes, and additional resources are available on the POLCY318­-20B Moodle site. In addition, certain assessments are required to be submitted electronically through the Moodle site.

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In addition to attending classes, students are expected to read assigned materials and complete the course assessment tasks. The expected work load for the paper is an average of about 10 hours per week.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Restricted papers: POLS318

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