Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Climate Solutions Lab

Global Environmental Politics

Franklin & Marshall College



Prof. Eve Bratman

Undergraduate lecture

Documentary Video / Films,Simulations,Group projects

This course introduces participants to the political dynamics of environmental affairs, examined in a global perspective. Whether confronting climate change, pollutants in land, air and water, land degradation, food insecurity, or the extinction of different species, environmental problems involve traversing boundaries of states and property. Inter-dependent systems have uneven, and often disparate impacts on people depending on their geographic location, economic status, and citizenship, among other factors. How should society respond to those collective challenges? What is the role for governments, international organizations, market-based forces, and individuals in spurring meaningful change? The course’s central aim is to familiarize students with the role power plays in the emergence of environmental problems and how power in turn can be wielded in the service of human and ecological well-being.

Our class will begin with the nature and sources of international environmental politics (broadly understood), and an introduction to the key actors and agencies involved in global environmental governance. Focusing on the development of regimes addressing a range of environmental issues, the course addresses implementation and state responsibility for environmental harm and dispute resolution. Principles and objectives underpinning global environmental politics (GEP) include sustainable development, the precautionary principle, the polluter pays principle, and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.