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KEMI 2010A - Political Economy of the Environment: Managing our Ecological Crises

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 54

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

While humans have become de facto stewards of the Biosphere through their domination of Earth's ecosystems, they have just begun their collective transition towards preserving their habitat. This class aims at equipping SMI students with the analytical and policy tools to correctly assess the severity of ecological crises in the age of the Anthropocene and, most importantly, help them become active players in managing the transition towards sustainable economies and societies. This is a “learning & doing class”: While the first part consists of lectures, the second part is a simulation game of climate negotiations (in association with Forccast


  • DENIS, Marine (Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant - EU EDGE Research Program, Medialab - Sciences Po Paris)
  • LAURENT, Eloi (Economiste)

Pedagogical format

The “learning” part consists of 6 sessions of 2 hours of lecture (cf. sessions planning below) where students will acquire the key ideas and analytical tools to manage ecological crises; The “doing” part consists of 3 sessions of 4 hours of simulation game. Each student will be part of a delegation (representing a country or the UNFCCC secretariat) engaged in a two parts negotiation on climate justice. Each delegation will prepare a position paper on climate mitigation and climate adaptation to be presented in a simulated press conference attended by all parties in the first 4 hours session; the second session will be devoted to negotiation between parties on climate change mitigation (3h of negotiation and 1 hour of debriefing); the final session will be devoted to negotiation between parties on climate change adaptation (again 3h of negotiation and 1 hour of debriefing); Students will be prepared by lectures on climate change negotiations and tutoring sessions while composing their position paper, both starting on week 1, in parallel with class lectures.

Course validation

Students will receive five grades: - 2 collective grades respectively for their position paper and press conference performance; - 3 individual grades: one participation grade in class lectures, one multiple choice quiz grade on class lectures and one grade evaluating their negotiation skills during the negotiation sessions.


Students are expected to prepare class lectures with assigned readings and participate in class; prepare collectively their position paper and participate in negotiation sessions. Marine Denis (FORCCAST) will equip students with the conceptual and legal tools for climate negotiations as well as provide tutoring sessions for the drafting of their position papers.

Required reading

  • session 1 : Reading: Thomas Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population, 1798
  • sessions 2 - 5 : TBD
  • Session 6 Reading: Eloi Laurent, Measuring Tomorrow: Accounting for Well-being, Resilience and Sustainability in the 21st century, Princeton University Press, 2017.