Concepts include climate policy instruments, interest group politics, climate justice.

Faculty: Arts
Subject: Political Science
Year / Level: 3
Theme(s): Climate Justice and Social Science; Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation



This course is restricted to students in year: >=3

Collective action via both international agreements and domestic public policy are essential for solving the climate crisis. This course will focus on why governments act (or don't) on climate, examining topics such as international negotiations, alternative climate policy instruments or tools, public opinion, interest group politics, and political institutions. As we identify obstacles, we will also seek to find ways forward -- what will it take to do better?! I am committed to active learning, so typically include group discussions and simulations throughout the course.

Learning Objectives  

This course has 4 core learning objectives. Students will be able to:

  1. Critically consider and discuss climate policy with fellow citizens. Our focus will be advanced industrialized countries, in particular Canada and the US, with some attention to Australia and Ireland. This is not to suggest that the rest of the world is not just as important, but wealthy countries have the highest per capita and historical emissions, and thus greatest responsibility to act.
  2. Define and explain the meaning of various environmental policy concepts, including but not limited to the tragedy of the commons, climate justice, collective action, carbon pricing and other environmental policy instruments.
  3. Analyse the obstacles to and opportunities for implementation of more effective climate policy, drawing on political science scholarship concerning political institutions, interest group politics, and public opinion.
  4. More effectively communicate their ideas about climate policy both orally and in writing.


Check SSC to see if the course is currently offered and if you meet pre-requisites etc.



Read a copy of the course syllabus to see reading lists, assignments, grading, and more.



Kathryn Harrison

"My goal is to prepare students to be informed and engaged climate citizens who can demand (or get elected and adopt!) climate fixing policies."