ASTK18396U 50 Years of Global Environmental Governance

Volume 2021/2022

Bachelor: 7,5 ECTS

Kandidat: 7,5 ECTS


Notice: It is only possible to enroll for one course having a 3-day compulsory written take-home assignment exam due to coincident exam periods.


2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, the first global UN conference on the environment. This course will use this anniversary to reflect on the institutions, issues, actors, and practices of global environmental governance have evolved over the past half-century. In addition, we will explore the potential of current environmental governance systems to accelerate the social, economic, political, and ecological transformations for a sustainable low-carbon future. Students will complete several learning activities applying diverse theories, concepts and methodologies to analyze developments in the global governance of specific environmental issues.




  1. History of Global Environmental Governance
  2. Key Concepts and Debates

Key actors

  1. States
  2. Non-state actors
  3. Local governments and indigenous peoples

The environment on the global agenda

  1. Links between environmental issues and other issues in world politics
  2. Emergence of new environmental issues
  3. The Anthropocene

Approaches to global environmental governance

  1. Multilateralism
  2. Transnational governance
  3. Complexity and polycentric governance systems
  4. Justice, equity and legitimacy

Looking ahead

  1. Achievements and challenges

Governing transformation

Learning Outcome


Students will be able to

  • Give an account of how the global environmental governance arena has evolved over the past 50 years
  • Identify some of the major achievements and challenges encountered in addressing global environmental problems
  • Understand and reflect on how understandings of what global environmental governance entails have evolved and the subsequent consequences for global environmental politics



Students will be able to

  • Identify and assess different theoretical and methodological approaches used in the study of global environmental governance
  • Apply theoretical and methodological approaches to conduct empirical analysis of global environmental governance in specific issues.



Students will learn:

  • Critical thinking
  • Independent working
  • Oral communication and writing


Bernstein, S. and M. Hoffmann. 2018. The Politics of Decarbonization and the Catalytic Impact of Subnational Climate Experiments. Policy Sciences 51: 189-211 (23 pp)

Biermann, F. and E. Lövbrand, eds. 2019. Anthropocene Encounters: New Directions in Green Political Thinking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (selected chapters)

Clapp, J. and Dauvergne, P., 2011. Paths to a green world: The political economy of the global environment. MIT press. (selected chapters)

Dabelko, G.D. and Conca, K. eds., 2019. Green planet blues: Critical perspectives on global environmental politics. Routledge. (selected chapters)

Dauvergne, P., 2018. Why is the global governance of plastic failing the oceans?. Global Environmental Change51, pp.22-31. (10 pp)

Hale, T., 2020. Transnational actors and transnational governance in global environmental politics. Annual review of political science23, pp.203-220. (18 pp)

IISD. 2021. Still Only One Earth: Lessons from 50 Years of UN Sustainable Development Policy. Available at https:/​/​​projects/​still-only-one-earth-lessons-50-years-un-sustainable-development-policy (selected briefs)

Inoue, C.Y.A. and Moreira, P.F., 2017. Many worlds, many nature (s), one planet: indigenous knowledge in the Anthropocene. Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional59.

Kuyper, J. W., B.O. Linnér, and H. Schroeder. 2017. Non-state actors in hybrid global climate governance: Justice, legitimacy, and effectiveness in a post-Paris era. WIRES Climate Change 9(1) e497.

Linnér, B.O. and Selin, H., 2013. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development: forty years in the making. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy31(6), pp.971-987 (17 pp)

Marion Suiseeya, K.R., Zanotti, L. and Haapala, K., 2021. Navigating the spaces between human rights and justice: cultivating Indigenous representation in global environmental governance. The Journal of Peasant Studies, pp.1-25. (25 pp)

Nasiritousi, N., Hjerpe, M. and 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 Economics16(1), pp.109-126. (18 pp)

Pattberg, P. and Widerberg, O., 2015. Theorising global environmental governance: key findings and future questions. Millennium, 43(2), pp.684-705 [22 pgs.]

Morin, J.F. and Orsini, A. eds., 2020. Essential concepts of global environmental governance. London: Routledge (selected chapters)

Classes will be interactive. They will combine group work, discussion and lecture-style elements. They will actively engage with a variety of texts.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
Written assignment
Three-day compulsory written take-home assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

- In the semester where the course takes place: Three-day compulsory written take-home assignment

- In subsequent semesters: Free written assignment

Criteria for exam assesment


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.