Global Environmental Politics

Subject POLS30022 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 30 contact hours per semester. 2 x one hour lectures and 1 x one hour tutorial per week for 10 weeks. The lecture and tutorial programs are staggered and cover the 12 weeks of semester.
Total Time Commitment:

Total of 170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Politics and International Studies at Levels 1 & 2

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Gerry Nagtzaam, Mr Jeremy Baskin


Subject Overview:

This subject provides a comprehensive and critical introduction to global environmental politics. It introduces the ethical, political and institutional challenges raised by the global environmental crisis and the key policy and institutional responses. The subject critically explores the environmental treaty system, the role of the United Nations, and the complex relationship between global environmental and economic governance. The role of key non-state actors will also be examined, including the diverse and often competing claims of the modern environment movement and its critics and the changing practices of corporations. Key global debates about sustainable development, environmental justice and ecological security will be explored through a range of topics and case studies, including the idea of the 'ecological footprint' and the problem of over-consumption, the global politics of climate change, the relationship between trade and environment, the precautionary principle and the politics of risk. Questions of gender and ethnicity are explicitly addressed in the syllabus.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • Understand and critically compare the competing frameworks for understanding global environmental politics within mainstream international relations theory and the more critical field of global political ecology;
  • demonstrate a broad understanding of the diverse ideological character and claims of the modern environment movement and the major lines of political contestation in the broader global environmental debate;
  • recognise the major environment and development tensions and debates within the national, international and global communities, particularly the sustainable development debate and the tensions between environmental and economic global governance;
  • be able to identify the different ways in which new environmental issues, actors, interests and agendas have challenged the basic norms and institutions of global governance, particularly the system of sovereign states, environmental multilateralism, and the norms and institutions of global economic governance;
  • be able to evaluate critically the different global institutional responses to global ecological problems;
  • Communicate effectively in oral and written formats.

  • An essay of 3000 words (75%) due in the week prior to the non-teaching break.
  • A 1-hour take-home exam (25%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Available as a Breadth subject to non-Bachelor of Arts students

Related Course(s): U21 Diploma in Global Issues
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Graduate Certificate in Arts - Politics and International Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Politics and International Studies
Political Science Major
Politics and International Studies
Related Breadth Track(s): Politics and International Studies

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