JJUA55250U Jean Monnet course: Transatlantic Climate Change and Energy Law

Volume 2021/2022

Individual governmental entities such as the European Union and the United States, and their member states, are involved in trying to reduce the impacts of climate change and move away from fossil fuels. There is much to be learned in understanding what actions the EU and the US are taking, the reasons for those actions, and whether improvements can be made.  Analyzing and comparing the various approaches will render new ideas for how best to approach the climate change and energy -related issues and, it is hoped, spread the wealth of experience that is being learned on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. 


This course, which will include students from Copenhagen and Denver universities, will be co-taught live by Beatriz Martinez Romera, Associate Professor of Environmental and Climate Change Law at the University of Copenhagen and Don C. Smith, Professor of the Practice of Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.  The professors will speak in person to their own students as well as via Zoom to students in the other location.


The course will identify, analyze, and compare current climate change and energy transition (i.e., from fossil fuels to renewables and energy efficiency) laws and policies of the European Union and the United States.  Students will be introduced to the applicable governing institutions in the EU and US and consider where each government is Spring 2022 in terms of addressing climate change.  Cultural and political settings that influence climate policy in the Transatlantic Relationship will also be discussed.  Students will be organized into groups of ½ Copenhagen students and ½ Denver students early in the semester.  During the last two course dates, the groups will present their findings about a relevant EU-US issue.  At the end of the course students will be able to discuss, analyze, research, write about and present on the key elements of climate change and energy transition law from EU and US perspectives.


This course was established through the financial support of the EU Jean Monnet Programme in 2019 and builds on the bachelor degree both as far as international, European law. The course will illustrate the use of the comparative method in practice. The course does not require that other Master courses have been followed.


The activities include several innovative components:

  • Live teleconferencing sessions every Monday from 16.15-18, where students will learn about International/EU/US as well as Denmark and Colorado responses to climate change and the energy transition;
  • Student preparation and presentation of policy papers: students in the two locations will be organized into “teams” to work collaboratively to prepare a document that: (a) compares various policies; (b) recommends potential new policies; and (c) assesses the opportunities and risks associated with implementation of the new policies). Students will present their briefings in teams to the various audiences.


Read more here:   https://www.law.du.edu/transatlantic-climate-change-energy-law


Learning Outcome

The evolution of EU and US climate change policy and law has been uneven, with the US often lagging behind.  Meanwhile, the EU has provided the world steady and serious leadership.


In recognition of the need for the “two sides” to better understand the other’s point of view. The purpose is to work together in two regions in an effort to increase their respective students’ understanding of the respective policies of each governmental entity. With these “test cases” in hand, the course  is focused specifically on comparing, analyzing, and learning from what has happened and is happening at International, EU, and US levels, as well as in several member states including Denmark, and the US the state of Colorado. 

A detailed reading list has been prepared. The literature covers both international law, EU law and national law, and includes individual book chapters, articles and references to homepages. Most literature will be uploaded.

Case-work illustrated by USA and EU. Using teleconferencing software, each professor will “participate in” the two “classrooms,” that is to say in Copenhagen and Denver. There will be group work and student – presentations during a webinar where students present their work. The seminar is followed by an online experts conference where the best student paper is awarded and presented.


February 7 (Session 1) CPH and DEN
February 14 (Session 2) CPH and DEN
February 21 (Session 3) CPH and DEN
February 28 (Session 4) CPH and DEN
March 7 (Session 5) CPH and DEN
March 14 (Session 6) CPH and DEN
March 21 (Session 7) CPH and DEN
March 28 (Session 8) CPH and DEN
April 4 (Session 9) CPH and DEN
April 11 (Session 10) CPH and DEN
April 18 (Groups A, B, C presentations) CPH and DEN
April 25 (Groups D, E, F presentations) CPH and DEN
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 178,25
  • Seminar
  • 28
  • Total
  • 206,25
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 min.
Oral exam based on synopsis, 20 minutes
Exam registration requirements

In order to attend the oral examination, it is a prerequisite to hand in the synopsis before the specified deadline. The deadline is agreed upon with the course lecturer.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period

Week 22, 2022 - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday


Week 32, 2022 - Wednesday, Thursday, Friday