POL S 403 A: Advanced Seminar In International Relations

Climate Politics and Governance

Meeting Time: 
MW 12:30pm - 2:20pm
SMI 115
Prof. Aseem Prakash
Aseem Prakash

Syllabus Description:


January 10, 2018

Climate Politics and Governance

(POL S 403b)

Aseem Prakash

Winter 2018



Class Time:            Monday and Wednesday, 12:30-2:20 

Class Location:     Smith 115

Office Hours:         By appointment

Office:                    39 Gowen

E-mail:                   aseem@uw.edu

Home Page:          http://faculty.washington.edu/aseem/


 Course Objective

Climate change is perhaps the defining challenge of our time. It affects critically every aspect of our life. It is therefore not surprising that climate governance is complex and contested. There are several ways climate policies can support economic growth and create new opportunities. But climate policies can also create winners and losers and create social conflict. This undergraduate seminar will examine important policy issues in climate governance such as mitigation and adaptation policies, climate migration, climate justice, and climate finance. We will study how well the existing approaches and institutions are working, and what new initiatives can help us to address the climate challenge.



We will use journal or newspaper articles only. I have uploaded the journal articles on the Canvas. For the newspaper articles, the syllabus will provide the URLs.


This is a Device-Free Class

Research suggests that the use of electronic devices in class can be distracting for you and for your colleagues. Therefore, to enhance your learning experience, during the class you are not allowed to use phones, tablets, laptops or any Internet connectable devices. Please take notes using a pen and a note book.

Seminar Expectations

This seminar requires active student participation. You are expected to energetically and thoughtfully contribute to class discussions in the following ways.

Student Presentations

For every session, students will present and critique the assigned articles. The discussant-presenter should prepare a two-page (single-spaced) “Article Memo” which summarizes the article, examines its strengths and weaknesses, and identifies questions it raises for future research. Please email this memo to the class by Sunday noon for the Monday class, and by Tuesday noon for the Wednesday class. Your memo will be shared on the class email list.

The discussant-presenter should budget about 10 minutes for the in-class oral presentation. Please do not simply read aloud your memo; touch and key points, especially your assessment of the article. Remember, this is a device-free class; the presenter is welcome to bring along a printed copy of the memo.

Class Participation

Needless to say, I expect seminar participants to review all the assigned readings prior to the class.  Based on these readings, for any 6 sessions (the course has three parts; 2 memos from every part of this course), please will email me two questions or issues you want to discuss in the class (students assigned a specific article will not do so; they will email their “Article Memo” only). Instead of listing your questions, please briefly explain how these questions contribute to our understanding of the article(s) under discussion. Your “Key Questions Memo” should be about one-page (single-spaced) and reach me by Sunday noon for the Monday class, and by Tuesday noon for the Wednesday class. Your memo will be shared on the class email list.

Research Paper

A five-page (single-spaced; excluding references and tables) research paper is due March 7. Identify two counties, cities, or firms and compare how they are responding to climate change. One page outline is due February 5.

The paper should follow the following format:
- Identify two units you wish to study;
- Briefly explain how they are similar or different (the rationale for comparing them)?
- Specify the policies (mitigation and/or adaptation) you are comparing;
- Why are you focusing on these policies; what do they reveal about these units' climate policies;
- Are the responses of these units similar or different? How? Why?; 
- The "therefore what?" question: how has this paper illuminated your understanding of climate policy.



Article Memos:                   20 points

Key Questions Memos:     40 points

Class Participation:            20 points

Research Paper:                20 points



I reserve the right to change the syllabus without prior notice.


A. WHETHER ITS URL IS LISTED IN THE SYLLABUS. (if it is listed, copy and paste in <google.com>)




Class Schedule

________________________________Part 1_______________________________________


Session 1

Wednesday, January 3

Introduction to the course


Session 2

Monday, January 8


Chim, Vivien Yan Yi
 Rising waters threaten China’s rising cities


Bennett, Brenton M
 Jakarta is sinking so fast, it could end up underwater

Bellis, Alec Evan
 The nightmare scenario for Florida’s coastal homeowners: Demand and
financing could collapse before the sea consumes a single house

Al-Mezal, Ali Jamal
 In the waterlogged Netherlands, climate change is considered neither a
hypothetical nor a drag on the economy. Instead, it’s an opportunity.

Fritzberg, Emma Jane
 The toughest question in climate change: Who gets saved?

Hernandez, Marthy
 “Climate change did it!” is a convenient excuse

Session 3
Wednesday, January 10
Perspective and approaches

Garcia, Brianna Lavonne
 Ostrom, E. 2010. Polycentric systems for coping with collective action and
global environmental change. Global Environmental Change, 20(4):550-557.

Honaker-Coe, Brian Bernald
 Sunstein, C. 2007. On the divergent American reactions to terrorism and
climate change. Columbia Law Review, 503-557.

Dalton, Elizabeth Rose
 Costello, A., et al., 2009. Managing the health effects of climate change. The
Lancet 373, no. 9676: 1693-1733.

No Class on Monday, January 15 on account of MLK Day


Session 4

Wednesday, January 17

Opposition to climate mitigation


  • Brulle, R. 2014. Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of US climate change counter-movement organizations. Climatic Change, 122(4), 681-694.

Muna Ahmed

  • McCright, A., & Dunlap, R. 2011. Cool dudes: The denial of climate change among conservative White males in the United States. Global Environmental Change, 21,1163-1172.

kyle Jacob

kyle Jacob


Session 5

Monday, January 22

Barriers to climate response

David Kim


  • Rickards, L., Wiseman, J., & Kashima, Y. 2014. Barriers to effective climate change mitigation: the case of senior government and business decision makers. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 5(6), 753-773.




Session 6

Wednesday, January 24

EU and Climate Change

Guest Speaker: Jurgen Salay



  • EU Climate Policy Explained, edited by Delbeke and Vis, introduction by editors and chapter 1. 


  • EU Climate Policy Explained, edited by Delbeke and Vis, chapter 5.


  • EU Climate Policy Explained, edited by Delbeke and Vis, chapter 6.


  • Schoenefeld et al: The challenges of monitoring national climate policy: learning lessons from the EU, in Climate Policy, Volume 18, 2018.

 ______________________________________Part 2_______________________________


Session 7

Monday, January 29

Adaptation approaches


  • Dupuis, J., & Biesbroek, R. 2013. Comparing apples and oranges: the dependent variable problem in comparing and evaluating climate change adaptation policies. Global Environmental Change, 23(6), 1476-1487.


  • Næss, L., Bang, G., Eriksen, S., & Vevatne, J. 2005. Institutional adaptation to climate change: flood responses at the municipal level in Norway. Global Environmental Change, 15(2), 125-138.


  • Anguelovski, I., Chu, E., & Carmin, J. 2014. Variations in approaches to urban climate adaptation: Experiences and experimentation from the global South. Global Environmental Change, 27, 156-167.


Session 8

Wednesday, January 31

Incorporating adaptation in the policy process


  • Ingty, T. 2017. High mountain communities and climate change: adaptation, traditional ecological knowledge, and institutions. Climatic Change. 145(1–2), pp 41–55.

Brianna Paige

  • Cole, D. 2008. Climate change, adaptation, and development. UCLA Journal of Environmental Law. & Policy, 26, 1.

James Maltman

  • Ayers, J., Huq, S., Faisal, A., and Hussain, S. 2014. Mainstreaming climate change adaptation into development: a case study of Bangladesh. WIREs Climate Change, 5: 37–51.


Paper outline is due

Session 9

Monday, February 5

Droughts and climate change


  • Wilhite, D. et al. 2014. Managing drought risk in a changing climate: The role of national drought policy. Weather and Climate Extremes, 3, 4–13.


  • Kiem, A. 2013. Drought and water policy in Australia: Challenges for the future illustrated by the issues associated with water trading and climate change adaptation in the Murray–Darling Basin. Global Environmental Change, 23(6), 1615-1626.


  • Joy C.-Y. Muller. 2014. Adapting to climate change and addressing drought – learning from the Red Cross Red Crescent experiences in the Horn of Africa. Weather and Climate Extremes, 3(June), 31-36.


Session 10

Wednesday, February 7

Climate migration


  • Nawrotzki1, R. et al. 2015. Climate change as a migration driver from rural and urban Mexico. Environmental Research Letters. 10(11)


  • Engler, S. et al. 2013. The Irish famine of 1740–1741: famine vulnerability and" climate migration. Climate of the Past, 9(3), 1161-1179.


  • Maldonado, J., et al. 2013. The impact of climate change on tribal communities in the US: displacement, relocation, and human rights. Climatic Change, 120(3), 601-614.


Session 11

Monday, February 12

Gender and climate change


  • McCright, A. 2010. The effects of gender on climate change knowledge and concern in the American public. Population and Environment, 32(1), 66-87.


  • Arora-Jonsson, S. 2011. Virtue and vulnerability: Discourses on women, gender and climate change. Global Environmental Change, 21(2), 744-751.


  • Djoudi, H., & Brockhaus, M. 2011. Is adaptation to climate change gender neutral? Lessons from communities dependent on livestock and forests in northern Mali. International Forestry Review, 13(2), 123-135.


Session 12

Wednesday, February 14

Climate Justice


  • Posner, E. & Sunstein, C. 2007. Climate change justice. Georgetown Law Journal, 96, 1565.


  • Roberts, J. and Parks, B. C. 2009. Ecologically unequal exchange, ecological debt, and climate justice: The history and implications of three related ideas for a new social movement. International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 50(3-4), 385-409.


  • Fabricant, N. 2013. Good living for whom? Bolivia’s climate justice movement and the limitations of indigenous cosmovisions. Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, 8(2), 159-178.

 No Class Monday February 19 on account of Presidents Day

 ___________________________________________Part 3___________________________


Session 13

Wednesday, February 21

Climate insurance


  • Mills, E. 2009. A global review of insurance industry responses to climate change. The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance-Issues and Practice, 34(3), 323-359.


Amanda Ai


  • Botzen, W. et al. 2010. Climate change and increased risk for the insurance sector: a global perspective and an assessment for the Netherlands. Natural Hazards, 52(3), 577-598.


Session 14

Monday, February 26

Climate finance


  • Mengze, H. & Wei, L. 2015. A comparative study on environment credit risk management of commercial banks in the Asia-Pacific region. Business Strategy and Environment, 24, 159–174.

Brianna Lavonne

  • Linnerooth-Bayer, J. & Hochrainer-Stigler, S. 2015. Financial instruments for disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. Climatic Change, 133: 85.

Clark David

·         Rising seas may wipe out these Jersey towns, but they're still rated AAA, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-25/investors-say-it-s-time-to-price-climate-into-cities-bond-risks


Session 15

Wednesday, February 28

Climate litigation



  • Vladeck, D. 2008. Information access - Surveying the current legal Landscape of federal right-to-know laws, 86 Texas Law Review. 1787, 1836.

David Kim

  • Peel, J. 2011. Issues in climate change litigation. Carbon & Climate Law Review


Session 16

Monday, March 5

Business Dimension


  • Scott, D., Gössling, S., & Hall, C. M. 2012. International tourism and climate change. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 3(3), 213-232.


  • Gasbarro, F., Rizzi, F., and Frey, M. 2016. Adaptation measures of energy and utility companies to cope with water scarcity induced by climate change. Business Strategy and the Environment, 25: 54–72.


  • Mirasgedis, S., et al. 2014. The impact of climate change on the pattern of demand for bottled water and non-alcoholic beverages. Business Strategy and the Environment, 23: 272–288.


Research Paper is due

Session 17

Wednesday, March 7

Carbon labels

James Christopher

  • Gössling, S., & Buckley, R. 2016. Carbon labels in tourism: persuasive communication?. Journal of Cleaner Production, 111, 358-369.

Anna C

  • Edwards-Jones, G. et al. 2009. Vulnerability of exporting nations to the development of a carbon label in the United Kingdom. Environmental Science & Policy, 12(4), 479-490.

Brianna Paige

  • Van Loo, E. et al. 2014. Consumers’ valuation of sustainability labels on meat. Food Policy, 49, 137-150.

Additional Details:

W course.

Catalog Description: 
Examination of contemporary developments in the field of international relations. Content varies according to the nature of developments and research interests of the instructor.
Department Requirements: 
International Relations Field
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:32pm