Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Climate Solutions Lab

Proseminar in Comparative Climate Politics

American University



Todd Eisenstadt


Simulations,Readings from Underrepresented groups,Group projects

GOVT 680 explores social science theories and debates surrounding climate change, examining the strengths and limitations of conventional social science frames such as the tragedy of the commons. Students will study groups, actors, and individuals on an international, national, and subnational level. Though the course aims to explain the politics of climate change in the U.S., it will also analyze the politics of all countries around the world vital to any meaningful international climate change agreement. Students will first consider broad ethical and philosophical questions about humans’ relationship with the environment, considering how this relationship has evolved over time. The second part of the course will examine how public policy has addressed—and not addressed—the issue of climate change, drawing upon theories of public opinion and interest group pluralism. Lastly, the course will dive into the strategies of several case study nations, which have both met and failed to meet the environmental challenges; the course will specifically explore the dramatic evolution of climate policy in the U.S. ranging from Obama’s to Biden’s terms in office.