International Environmental Politics

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
16 March 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module offers a comprehensive introduction to the understanding of the international politics of environmental problems in a comparative (cross-national as well as sub-national) perspective.

How can the international community effectively address global environmental problems, e.g., the depletion of the ozone layer and climate change? This module offers a comprehensive examination of global environmental politics and facilitates an understanding of how international problem-solving efforts emerge among what kinds of actors, what kind of impact such instruments have, and why state efforts to regulate global environmental issues might fail.

The world community's response to transnational environmental issues has been to build a complex structure of environmental regimes and multilateral agreements. We will examine the underlying theoretical approaches comprehensively, paying particular attention to the design of international environmental regimes, the determinants of states participating in these institutions, and their effectiveness.

An additional drawback with regime governance is that it can lead to piece-meal responses and overlapping institutions with little impact on the overall problems posed to the global system. Building on this general overview, we will contrast the cases of the depletion of the ozone layer and climate change, before concentrating on the consequences of climate change for interstate and intrastate conflict.

We then study the nexus of trade and the environment at a global level in trying to answer whether globalization facilitates or worsens the international community's response to global environmental problems. Finally, we explore the possibilities for enhanced environmental governance and the future of international environmental politics.

Module aims

To provide students with the necessary analytical foundations to conduct theoretical and empirical comparative research on the environment.
To engage with a wide range of applied material relating to comparative environmental politics.
To generate ideas and design a study that engages with contemporary environmental issues in a theoretically sound and empirically aware perspective.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will have:

1. Gained knowledge of the basic issues related to the domestic politics of the environment
2. Gained knowledge of the major political theories regarding the management of environmental resources
3. Understand how many actors are involved in addressing and solving environmental issues and which incentives/strategies they may have to operate as they do.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

The module will be taught as a weekly two-hour seminar. Students are expected to read for all classes.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Federica Genovese, email: fgenov@essex.ac.uk.
Professor T Bohmelt



External examiner

Dr Edward Morgan-Jones
University of Kent
Reader in Comparative Politics
Available via Moodle
Of 22 hours, 22 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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