ASTK18452U Environmental Law and Governance

Volume 2024/2025

Full-degree students enrolled at the Department of Political Science, UCPH

  • MSc in Political Science
  • MSc in Social Science
  • MSc in Security Risk Management
  • Bachelor in Political Science


Full-degree students enrolled at the Faculty of Social Science, UCPH 

  • Bachelor and MSc in Anthropology
  • Bachelor and MSc in Sociology
  • MSc in Psychology
  • Bachelor and Msc in Economics.
  • MSc in Social Data Science


The course is open to:

  • Exchange and Guest students from abroad
  • Credit students from Danish Universities
  • Open University students

Since the development the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), environmental concerns are intertwined with socio-economic concerns. Overtime, international environmental norms and rules have impregnated all policies. However, in the Anthropocene era, environmental law and governance are put into test in facing rapid, uncertain and unprecedented challenges. In this course, we will explore the factors that have triggered the evolution of environmental law and governance beyond state, and how the theoretical approaches of environmental studies developed in that context. Additionally, students will reflect on how and to what extent environmental law and governance can be resilient and adaptive in facing global challenges.


  1. 1. Introduction to international environmental law and governance
  2. 2. Theoretical approaches
  3. 3. Factors
  • Non-state actors
  • More-than-human world
  • Science
  2. 4. Issues
  • Climate change
  • Ocean
  2. 5. Topics
  • Rights of nature
  • The glocal: from a top-down to a bottom-up governance
  • Changing perspectives: from small island states to big ocean states
  • Environmental justice
Learning Outcome


  • Understand the different sources of environmental law and how they constitute a framework.
  • Understand the role of law in dealing with environmental challenges
  • Identify the factors/actors that plays a role in defining environmental law and governance.
  • Discuss the challenges of developing resilient and adaptive environmental law and governance.



  • Identify and assess key factors in the evolution of environmental law and governance.
  • Reflect on the shift toward a de-centered model of environmental law and governance and assess its challenges
  • Develop an interdisciplinary perspective of envrionmental challenges.


  • Critical thinking
  • Independent work
  • Collaborative work

Carter, Neil, 2018. The Politics of the Environment. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 456 pp.

Kotzé, Louis, 2017. Environmental Law and Governance for the Anthropocene. London: Hart Publishing. 379 pp.

Nasiritousi, Hjerpe, M., & Linnér, B.-O. (2016). The roles of non-state actors in climate change governance: understanding agency through governance profiles. International Environmental Agreements : Politics, Law and Economics, 16(1), 109–126. https:/​/​​10.1007/​s10784-014-9243-8

Kohl, & Walenta, J. (2023). Legal Rights for Whose Nature? Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 113(1), 274–290. https:/​/​​10.1080/​24694452.2022.2087588

Epstein, Ellison, A. M., Echeverría, H., & Abbott, J. K. (2023). Science and the legal rights of nature. Science (American Association for the Advancement of Science), 380(6646), eadf4155–eadf4155. https:/​/​​10.1126/​SCIENCE.ADF4155

Sclosberg, David (2019). Disruption, community, and resilient governnace – environmental justice in the Anthropocene. In: Haller, Tobias et al. The Commons in a Glocal world. Global connections and local responses. London: Routledge, 18 pp.

Classes will be based on student-centered learning: with few lectures (only the introductory part), seminars and group work (presentation/​discussion).
This setting aims at developing critical thinking and independent/​collaborative work
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Free written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

- In the semester where the course takes place: Free written assignment

- In subsequent semesters: Free written assignment

Criteria for exam assesment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner