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BHUM 1550A - International Politics of Climate Change

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 40

Language of tuition : English

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Course Description

Climate change has now grown from a scientific concern to one of the most pressing issues of our time. This seminar aims to look at the topic from a political viewpoint, and analyze the different mechanisms of cooperation in the fight against climate change. The first part provides an appraisal of climate change as a political issue: it examines how environmental issues, and climate change in particular, became a topic on the international agenda. The second part addresses the intertwining relationship that exists between international relations and climate change: how does diplomacy influence climate talks, and how does global warming impact upon the relations between states? Finally, in the third part of the seminar, students will be asked to put themselves in the shoes of UN delegates in a role-playing game simulating discussions on the future of the Kyoto Protocol. The simulation will seek to apply the knowledge and insights gained from the seminar into the design of a new, international cooperation mechanism. The seminars provides an introduction of the politics of climate change, and tries to decipher the political mechanisms involved in the fight against global warming. The seminar should be of interest for all students interested in international relations and environmental policies, and environmental diplomacy in particular. No prerequisite nor prior knowledge of the topic is needed.


  • BAILLAT, Alice E. (Chercheur)
  • GEMENNE, François A. (research fellow in political science)

Course validation

The evaluation will be based on four different components : * A 2,000-word essay – 40% of the final mark * A 1,000-word collective position paper – 20% of the final mark * A role-playing game (sessions 11-12) – 30% of the final mark * Active participation in the sessions – 10% of the final mark. No presentations from students will be requested.

Required reading

Giddens, A. (2009) The Politics of Climate Change. London: Polity Press.

Additional required reading

  • Adger W.N., Paavola J., Huq S. and Mace M.J. (Eds.) (2006) Fairness in Adaptation to Climate Change. Cambridge (MA) : MIT Press.
  • Gemenne, F. (2015) Géopolitique du Climat. Paris : Armand Colin.
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2007) Climate Change 2007 : Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability : Working Group II Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.
  • Kaul I., Grunberg I. et Stern M. (Eds) (1999) Global Public Goods: International Cooperation in the 21st Century. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Luterbacher U. et Sprinz D. (Eds.) (2001) International Relations and Global Climate Change. Cambridge (MA): MIT Press.
  • Moser S. et Dilling L. (Eds.) (2007) Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Roberts, J.T. et B. Parks (2006) A Climate of Injustice : Global Inequality, North-South Politics, and Climate Policy, Cambridge (MA) : MIT Press.
  • Sjöstedt, G. (2007) Climate Change Negotiations: A Guide to Resolving Disputes and Facilitating Multilateral Cooperation. New York: Earthscan.
  • Stern N. (Dir.) (2007) The Economics of Climate Change – The Stern Review. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.
  • Van Kooten G.C. (2004) Climate Change Economics. Why International Accords Fail. New York : Edward Elgar.
  • UN Development Programme (2007) Human Development Report 2007/2008. New York : Palgrave McMillan.
  • Carraro, C. (Ed.) (1999) International Environmental Agreements on Climate Change. New York: Springer.
  • Hoffmann, M. (2005) Ozone Depletion and Climate Change: Constructing a Global Response. New York: State University of New York Press.
  • Kuik O., Peters P. et Schrijver N. (Eds.) (1994) Joint Implementation to Curb Climate Change: Legal and Economic Aspects. New York: Springer.
  • Newell, P. (2000) Climate for Change: Non-State Actors and the Global Politics of the Greenhouse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Okonski K. (Ed.) (2003) Adapt or Die : The science, politics and economics of climate change. London : Profile.
  • Pinguelli-Rosa L. et Munasinghe M. (Eds.) (2002) Ethics, Equity and International Negotiations on Climate Change. Cheltenham (UK): Edward Elgar.
  • Rao P.K. (ed) (2000) The Economics of Global Climatic Change. Armonk, NY : Sharpe.
  • Skodvin, T. (200) Structure and Agent in the Scientific Diplomacy of Climate Change. London: Springer.
  • Smith J., Klein R. et S. Huq (Eds.) (2003) Climate Change, Adaptive Capacity and Development. London: Imperial College Press.
  • Stokke, J.H. and Ulfstein, G. (2005) Implementing the Climate Regime: International Compliance. New York: Earthscan.
  • Vogler J. et Imber M. (Eds.) (1996) The Environment and International Relations. London: Routledge.
  • Weart S.R. (2003) The Discovery of Global Warming. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.
  • Young, O. (2002) The Institutional Dimensions of Environmental Change: Fit, Interplay, and Scale. Cambridge (MA): MIT Press.

Plans de cours et bibliographies