Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Climate Solutions Lab

The Ethical and Political Dimensions of Climate Change

American University



Todd Eisenstadt

Undergraduate lecture,Undergraduate seminar

Simulations,Readings from Underrepresented groups,Group projects

CORE 107 aims to understand the politics of climate change in the United States—and countries vital to any meaningful international climate agreement—by exploring the gap between scientific consensus and political mobilization. The course will begin by examining ethical questions about humans’ relationship with the environment, framing policy debates in philosophical terms to give students a fundamental understanding of climate issues across authoritarian and democratic nations around the world. The course will then dive into how public policy has both succeeded at and failed to address the challenges of climate change, considering political science theories of public opinion and interest group pluralism. Students will learn about the strategies and choices of specific nations, with special attention given to the evolution of climate policy in the United States from Obama’s to Trump’s Presidential terms. The final weeks of the course will be spent looking at “ways forward” from the perspective of nations, sectors, technologies, individuals, and the world as a whole.