Fall 2021 - POL 349 D100

Selected Topics in International Relations (4)

Global Climate Change Politics

Class Number: 3863

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2021: Thu, 2:30–5:20 p.m.
    Location: TBA

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 20, 2021
    Mon, 7:00–10:00 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Six lower division units in Political Science or permission of the department.



Topic:  Global Climate Change Politics

Course description:

The course explores the international politics of climate change. Topics include: the causes and consequences of climate change, history of international discussions, UN negotiations and policy agreements, the positions of key countries and the global shift to lowcarbon development. We will focus on international negotiations and recent agreements that define the global response to the problem, and how they portray the global politics around the issue. Students will also learn about the domestic policies of major countries and gain a sense of the socioeconomic transformation towards a clean economy and low-carbon development. The course draws on the instructor’s experience in UN diplomacy, as member of the European Union delegation in climate change negotiations.

Objectives and outcomes:

The overarching learning goals are to

1) accumulate factual knowledge about the subject,
2) obtain insight about factors affecting climate politics, and
3) develop practical skills at problem solving and policymaking that can be applied in various professional contexts.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge of the climate change problematique and climate policy debates
2. Understand political, economic and social factors that shape global policy responses;
3. Apply knowledge in discussions on climate policy, through classroom simulations of international negotiations;
4. Become better at critical reading of complex texts, and assessing academic claims. Students who pass the course with 90 or above, would be prepared to:
5. Participate on the Canadian delegation to UN climate conferences, and
6. Engage professionally in climate policymaking and multilateral negotiations.


  • Midterm exam 30%
  • Final exam 30%
  • Simulation 20%
  • Background paper 20%



There is no textbook to purchase for this course. We will read journal articles and one small book: David Coen, Julia Kreienkamp and Tom Pegram, Global Climate Governance (Cambridge University Press 2020). All readings will be made available in electronic form. Students need to complete the readings for each class period prior to class, and develop a sufficient grasp of the material to engage in substantive class discussions.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.