NIGK15011U Geopolitics of Climate Change

Volume 2024/2025

MSc Programme in Climate Change
MSc Programme in Geography and Geoinformatics


This course explores climate change issues through the lens of geopolitics. Central concepts and theories in relation to recent research and policy will be explored through lectures, debates, and group exercises. Main themes include:

  • An introduction to the key actors and institutions of climate change governance at global, regional and national scales.
  • The global distribution of climate change impacts and of technological options and capacities to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
  • Current dynamics of climate negotiations, policy measures and regulatory frameworks.
  • International relations and security issues related to climate change (incl. economics, conflicts, human security, resource access, and energy).
  • Critical appraisal of knowledge, expertise, and justice in international climate governance.
Learning Outcome

The aim of the course is to give students an interdisciplinary introduction to the major topics involved with geopolitics of climate change. After completing the course the student will have obtained the:

Knowledge of:

  • The main conclusions of the IPCC reports.
  • Recent research on key fields within international relations and security issues related to climate change.
  • The development and current dynamics of global climate change governance, including key institutions, actors, and international agreements. 
  • The major issues in climate change negotiations within the COP-process and the working of relevant regulatory frameworks.


Skills in:

  • Analyzing and discussing climate change policies at national, regional, and global scales.
  • Assessing mechanisms of knowledge production and power dynamics in relation to international climate change governance.
  • Comparing and evaluating climate change policies, regulatory frameworks, and governance approaches.
  • Presenting and discussing, in oral and written form, complex climate change cases involving multiple stakeholders and geopolitical interests.


Competences to:

  • Discuss climate change issues in the context of international relations and geopolitics, for example considering economic, security, developmental and justice dimensions.
  • Assess the role of key actors and agreements in climate change governance.
  • Identify key challenges associated with climate change linked to differentiated capacities to mitigate and adapt.

The learning resources consist mainly of selected scientific articles, reports and book chapters, which will be made available on Absalon.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
The form of teaching is theory exercises combined with ad hoc lectures. For the teaching plan, please see Absalon.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 171
  • Theory exercises
  • 35
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes
Written assignment, during course
Type of assessment details
The written assignment is prepared during the course and must be handed in prior to the exam week. The oral exam uses the written assignment as its point of departure. It includes the titles listed in the officially approved reading list. A combined grade is given after the oral exam.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.

Re-submission of written assignment, 20 minutes oral examination. The written assignment must be handed in prior to the re-examination week. The oral exam uses the written assignment as its point of departure. It includes the titles listed in the officially approved reading list.

Criteria for exam assesment

Please see learning outcomes.