1 x 3-hour lecture weekly
Topic description

This topic introduces students to a number of themes and issues in environmental politics and situates these within debates concerning the meaning of 'sustainable development'. The key objective is to study how governments around the world grapple with environmental change and cope with the social and economic consequences resulting from apparent and emerging environmental problems. Seminars will ask whether various forms of environmental discourse aid our understanding of problems arising from human exploitation of the natural environment. The question is asked - to what extent do any of these discourses offer practical guide for governments, policy makers and corporations in the task of forging sustainable economic growth and healthy living environments?

Educational aims

This topic aims to introduce students to a number of issues concerning the interaction of emerging environmental problems with economic and social policy development.

Seminars focus on international dimensions of environmental problems such as, conflict over water usage, problems of nuclear waste disposal and controversy surrounding negotiations over global warming and greenhouse gas emission reductions.

The interaction of environmental concerns and economic development requirements are introduced in relation to what is meant by the term 'sustainable development'. Seminars also consider the role played by international environmental social NGOs and social movements, and China's environmental policy initiatives are introduced.

Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Discuss how contemporary government in both the developed and developing world follow economic development paths that may cause intractable environmental problems for future generations
  2. Debate public policy options aimed at fostering sustainable development as part of government processes