International Environmental Politics

Academic year
Subject Area
Área Científica do Menor
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites

Knowledge of English as the main bibliographical references supporting this curricular unit are in English.

Teaching Methods

Descriptive sessions introduce and discuss concepts and theoretical debates. Participative sessions analyse specific issues within the conceptual framework previously defined. Participation is accomplished through the discussion of an excerpt of a documentary/film which introduces the topic and allows the class to jointly identify the problems raised and the possible solutions.

Learning Outcomes

Overall objectives

Familiarize students with debates associated with environmental dynamics within an International Relations framework of analysis.

Specific objectives and competencies

- to understand and critically analyse the relation between environmental politics and scientific knowledge production, development aid policies, and security policies

- to critically relate the concept of sovereignty and the dynamics of international environmental governance


- to critically analyse the role of different relevant actors for international environmental politics

- to apply the conceptual framework discussed to specific environmental topics such as biodiversity and biosecurity, water resources, climate change and ozone layer, toxic waste or desertification and deforestation.

Generic competencies

Capability to critically analyse and summarise; written skills; capacity to apply in practice the theoretical knowledge acquired; ability to work in a group.

Work Placement(s)



This course presents and discusses theoretical debates which cross-cut several areas of study, but which have a direct impact on international environmental politics. These debates include studying the relation between politics and science; development aid policies and environment; the securitization of certain environmental issues; and the role of different actors, states included, in international environmental governance. These debates will be further explored through the analysis of thematic case studies, such as biodiversity and biosecurity, climate change and ozone layer, desertification and deflorestation, toxic waste or water resources.

Assessment Methods

Final evaluation
Exam: 100.0%

Continuous evaluation
Class participation: 20.0%
Group preparation of an essay on one of the thematic debates: 40.0%
Four thematic tests: 40.0%


Ken Conca & Geoffrey Dabelko (eds) (2004) Green Planet Blues: Environmental Politics from Stockholm to Johannesburg. Boulder, Oxford: Westview Press.

Karen T. Liftin (ed.) (1998) The Greening of Sovereignty in World Politics. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: The MIT Press.

Bjorn Lomborg (2001) The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Cambridge: CUP.

Norman Vig & Regina Axelrod (eds) (1999) The Global Environment: Institutions, Law, and Policy. London: Earthscan.