Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This unit looks at crucial global environmental issues, how they have emerged, and how they might be dealt with by policy-makers. The unit first looks briefly at theories of environmental politics, using concepts from international relations, global governance and policy studies, to ask how should we think about the planet and its politics. It then looks at key actors, including states, intergovernmental organisations, transnational corporations and social movements, and how these actors clash to produce political and environmental outcomes. The unit concludes by looking at several case studies of how environmental issues arise, how different actors inform governance and wield authority, what policy solutions might look like, and how political interests prevent them from being implemented. Case studies include the militarization of the Himalayan watershed, intergovernmental climate change agreements, resource extraction in Southern Africa, the governance of the Arctic and Antarctic, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, and the global coal industry's struggle for survival. Students will learn how global environmental crises arise, why they are mismanaged, and how they can be best be reckoned with.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Political Science and International Relations; Philosophy, Politics and Economics; International Cybersecurity major sequences
  • Level 3 elective

Students are able to (1) explain, and engage critically with, the conceptual frameworks, theories, techniques of investigation, and key debates associated with the global politics of the environment; (2) identify, explain and debate policy options for how global environmental issues can be dealt with; (3) interrogate the links between environmental problems and political and economic decisions made by different types of environmental actors; (4) analyse the causes of global environmental issues; (5) critically reflect on society's engagements with environmental issues; and (6) work collaboratively to develop policy options to solve environmental issues.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) policy brief; (2) research essay; and (3) workshop participation. 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
12 points of Social Sciences and/or Humanities study at level 2
POLS2229 States, Welfare and Environmental Policy
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.