Studying online

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Unit Overview


This unit introduces students to the international politics of climate change. The unit first looks briefly at theories of environmental politics, using concepts from international relations and environmental politics, to introduce students to debates on how should we think about the planet and its politics. It then introduces the United Nations process for dealing with climate change – the UNFCCC. It then looks at key actors that participate in climate politics, including states, intergovernmental organisations, transnational corporations and social movements, and how these actors clash to produce political and environmental outcomes. It closes with case studies of environmental regions – specifically the Himalayan watershed, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Arctic and Antarctic, and the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Students are introduced to the politics of climate change, why it is so hard to deal with, and begin to think through what political solutions to environmental problems might look like.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Political Science and International Relations; International Relations; Social and Environmental Sustainability major sequences
  • Level 1 elective

Students are able to (1) understand, explain and engage with the key international political issues that relate to climate change; (2) identify the types of actors that participate in international climate politics; (3) demonstrate a basic understanding of how the interaction between these actors produces environmental outcomes.; (4) demonstrate a basic understanding of the concepts, theoretical frameworks and approaches required to understand international politics as it relates to climate change; (5) conduct research and analyse evidence from a range of relevant sources, to construct a logical and persuasive argument; and (6) develop skills to undertake group projects and tasks, to work collaboratively to examine environmental issues..


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial activities; (2) policy analysis paper; and (3) research Essay. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Alexander Davis
Unit rules
POLS3342 Global Environmental Politics in your chosen degree
Contact hours
3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.