Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Climate Solutions Lab

The Political Economy of Climate Change

University of California, Los Angeles

Political Science

Fall 2020

Prof. Michael Ross

Undergraduate lecture

Group projects

First, how will climate change affect the governance of countries, and the livelihoods of people, around the world? To address this question we’ll cover research on the projected impact of climate change on economic growth, inequality, migration, and violent conflict.
Second, why have governments made so little progress in reducing carbon emissions? To help answer this question we’ll discuss the problem of governing common pool resources, the challenge of issues that have long-term and irreversible effects, the reasons why the fossil fuel industry is so influential, the role of public opinion and climate denialism, and the unequal economic effects of climate change on different populations.
Finally, what policies should governments adopt? In the final unit we will consider alternative policy options, including carbon pricing, cap-and-trade, renewable energy portfolios, geo-engineering, technological innovation, and the role of international agreements. You will also be introduced to some of the tools used to evaluate alternative pathways, such as integrated assessment models.