LAW 438

International Environmental Law and Policy

Environmental Law, International Law

This course examines how society manages, well or not so well, environmental issues that transcend international boundaries and so fall beyond the authority any single national government.  Class sessions will be divided between discussion of cases – specific international environmental issues-–and discussion of general conceptual topics that cut across specific cases.   Cases will include extended consideration of the two highest-stakes international environmental issues, climate change and protection of biodiversity, plus briefer discussions of stratospheric ozone depletion, long-range air pollution, international trade in endangered species, and management of global fisheries.  Conceptual sessions will include discussions of the historical development and causal structure of global environmental problems; of the foundations of international politics and international law; and of the common functions required for governance of any international environmental issue, e.g., interpreting and assessing relevant scientific knowledge, negotiation, establishment and management of international organizations, implementation of international commitments, and monitoring, reporting, and verification of compliance. Time permitting, the course may include some discussion of linkages of environment to other international issues, e.g., trade, economic policy, security, and development.Overall, the perspective of the course will be synthetic: it will seek to apply insights from research and scholarship to help advance practical understanding of what is happening, why, and how things might be done better.  The bridge between theory and practice will go both ways:  we will both use theoretical concepts to help understand specific issues, and use evidence from these issues to help criticize and refine theoretical claims.Format: Classes include a few lectures, lots of discussion, plus a few structured simulations and other in-class exercisesGrading:  One short paper (3-5 pages), one or two group presentations, one short in-class quiz, and a final paper (approx 20 pages). 

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