Global Environmental Governance

Spring 2011
Course Description

 This class will examine the formation and impact of a wide range of national, regional and international initiatives to address several important environmental challenges including global climate change, biodiversity, ozone depletion, sustainable forestry, and chemical safety.

It defines global environmental governance broadly to include international environmental agreements, the global diffusion of national environmental policies, and non-state, market based, regulatory policy initiatives.

The class will explore environmental policy conflicts both within and among states, as well as the impact of non-government organizations and business firms on shaping domestic and international policy preferences and policies.

It will also explore the changing roles of the United States and the European Union in addressing various global environmental challenges, the role of precautionary principle as a tool for risk assessment, the relationship between trade and environmental policy, and several global private and public initiatives to address environmental problems in developing countries.

This class should be of interest to graduate students interested in international relations, comparative politics, public policy, public administration, government regulation, global social movements, and business-government relations.  .

Undergraduates may enroll with instructor permission.  For further information, please contact David Vogel at


The primary requirement of the class is the writing of a 20-25 page research paper that explores a dimension of global environmental governance.  It is due a week after the last class. Students will also be periodically asked to write brief memos that critically discuss assigned readings which will then serve as a basis for class discussion.