Spring 2022 - IS 373 E100

Global Environmental Politics (4)

Class Number: 8120

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    HCC 2245, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Examines international efforts to respond to global environmental challenges, such as climate change, deforestation, and the degradation of the oceans. Investigates obstacles to effective action and possible ways forward. Explores the role of a range of key actors, including states, intergovernmental organizations, multinational companies, NGOs, and social movements.


In this seminar course we will examine issues related to the politics of the global environment. We begin with a general understanding of important scientific findings and debates centred around the environment. We use this knowledge as a platform from which to delve into more detailed analysis of this issue’s political, social, and economic aspects. What kinds of threats do individuals and groups face as the result of global environmental change and what institutions, organizations, and mechanisms have been devised to try to mitigate them? We will study this issue from a multi-disciplinary perspective, using concepts from economics, psychology, international law, philosophy and ethics, in addition to political science.

We will also analyse global environmental politics from the perspectives of individuals, states, civil society (both domestic and international) and global governing institutions (such as the United Nations), with special focus on issues related to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the annual Climate Change Conference (COP), with attention paid to the recentlycompleted conference in Glasgow.


Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

• Understand basic scientific concepts as they relate to the main challenges to the global environment
• Describe and assess the impact of the global economic system on the global environment
• Apply theories of international relations to global environmental governance
• Understand the role of IGOs and NGOs in global environmental governance
• Learn about and critically assess the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in global environmental governance
• Communicate understanding about global environmental politics in a concisely and clearly via seminar participation and written assignments
• Critically evaluate the social, political, and economic implications of adopting various environmental policies


  • Participation/Attendance 20%
  • In-class Presentation 10%
  • Literature Review 15%
  • Journalistic Essay 20%
  • Final Exam 35%


Students will be required to submit their written assignments to Turnitin.com in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.



Stevenson, Hayley. 2017. Global Environmental Politics: Problems, Policy, and Practice. (Cambridge University Press)
ISBN: 978-1-54753-7

Additional readings will be made available electronically.

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 spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this 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 spring 2022 term.