In the past 50 years, states have signed hundreds of international environmental treaties. Prominent among these are the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol,
and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Paralleling these
diplomatic developments, environmental concerns have quickly come to suffuse global-level discussions of poverty, development, security, and human rights. In sum, environmental issues have had a substantial impact on both the theory and the practice of global governance.
This course surveys major patterns in global environmental governance over the past several decades. Rather than focusing on particular issues, it explores the interplay between two questions. First, how do we know we have global environmental problems? And secondly, how does
this knowledge relate to governing arrangements? International political cooperation has helped to make global environmental change visible through the development of transnational systems for studying and monitoring the planet.! At the same time, scientific understandings of the earth as an integrated environmental system are challenging traditional notions of citizenship, political participation, and regulatory policy. By examining the simultaneous production of environmental knowledge and global political order in
class exercises and in case studies of their own choosing, students will sharpen their skills as analysts of international policy.
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