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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Environmental Governance and Policy (PGGE11257)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryContemporary society faces many interrelated environmental and sustainability challenges such as those surrounding issues of energy, water and food provision and access, terrestrial and marine biodiversity loss, climate change etc. State and non-state actors approach and attempt to address these challenges in many different ways across multiple levels, from local community self-governance of natural resources through to business led endeavours such as certification schemes, or government policies such as single-use plastic bag charges. The term Environmental Governance refers to how these actors interact and put into practice actions for addressing sustainability challenges. This includes the messy nature of government policy processes. We ask questions such as: how did this approach to governing this environmental issue emerge? how is it being implemented and with what effects? is this approach being resisted or contested?
The course is designed to provide an introduction to key debates in environmental governance and policy, and to deepen students' exposure to advanced level environmental social sciences. The course challenges participants to think across disciplinary boundaries as we apply and compare insights from human geography, environmental/ecological economics, environmental studies, political sciences, science and technology studies and development studies. Participants analyse governance and policy case studies throughout the course, in order to engage in fruitful dialogue between academic insights and real-life experiences of the challenges of practicing governance and policy 'on the ground'. Three tools for analysing environmental governance and policy will be discussed during the course: Institutional Analysis; Discourse Analysis and Power Analysis.
Course description Learning will be facilitated through interactive lectures, group discussions of literature and policy reports, class debates, class exercises and presentations, and practitioner guest talks where possible. The course is structured around the key debates in environmental governance and policy:
Governing the commons; Market Environmentalism; Civil society and social movements; Energy transitions governance; Private sector engagement; Adaptive governance, and Science-Policy-Practice interfaces.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Summative assignment 1: Essay (75%) - Due 12:00 noon, Tuesday week 12

Summative assignment 2: Blog post (25%) - Due by 12:00 noon, Tuesday week 12
Feedback Feedback will be provided during class discussions, to support students¿ learning of the course material. We encourage students to engage in these discussions and visit us during office hours to receive individual feedback on their questions. This will allow students to gain informal, immediate feedback on their understanding of the material, enabling further personal reflection throughout the course

The teaching team will provide feedback on an essay outline (formative)

The teaching team will provide feedback on a group presentation (formative)

A facilitated peer-review of an essay draft will be organised (formative)
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To classify and compare different Environmental Governance practices employed by multiple actors across different levels
  2. To be able to engage in critical discussions around the key debates of Environmental Governance
  3. To be able to contribute to academic and policy discussions on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  4. To develop skills in applying and integrating interdisciplinary academic insights to real-life case studies of Environmental Governance
  5. To conduct analyses of Environmental Governance practices
Reading List
Adger, N. et al. (2003) Governance for sustainability: towards a `thick' analysis of environmental decisionmaking, Environment and Planning A 35, pp. 1095 - 1110

Adger, W. N. and A. Jordan (2009). Governing Sustainability. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Betsill, M., Hochstetler, K., Stevis, D. (Eds) (2014) Advances in International Environmental Politics. Hampshire, Palgrave Macmillan.

Betsill, M. and Corell, E. (eds) (2007) NGO Diplomacy: The Influence of Nongovernmental Organizations in International Environmental Negotiations, MIT Press

Biermann, F., K. Abbott, S. Andresen, K. Backstrand, S. Bernstein, M. M. Betsill, H. Bulkeley, B. Cashore, J. Clapp, C. Folke, A. Gupta, J. Gupta, P. M. Haas, A. Jordan, N. Kanie, T. Kluvankova-Oravska, L. Lebel, D. Liverman, J. Meadowcroft, R. B. Mitchell, P. Newell, S. Oberthur, L. Olsson, P. Pattberg, R. Sanchez-Rodriguez, H. Schroeder, A. Underdal, S. C. Vieira, C. Vogel, O. R. Young, A. Brock and R. Zondervan (2012). "Navigating the Anthropocene: Improving Earth System Governance." Science 335(6074): 1306-1307.

Biermann, F, Pattberg, P. and Zelli, F. (eds). (2010). Global Climate Governance Beyond 2012: Architecture, Agency and Adaptation, Cambridge University Press.

Blaikie, P. (1995) Changing environments or changing views? A political ecology for developing countries, Geography 80 pp.203

Bulkeley, H. and Newell, P. (2015) Governing Climate Change. Second Edition. Routledge, London.

Death, C., & Gabay, C., (2015) Doing Biopolitics Differently? Radical Potential in the Post-2015 MDG and SDG Debates, Globalizations 12 (4) pp. 597-612.

Dryzek, J. (2005) The Politics of the Earth: Environmental Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Evans, J. P. (2011) Environmental Governance. Routledge, London

Folke, C., Hahn, T., Olsson, P. & Norberg, J. (2005) Adaptive Governance of Social-ecological systems, Annual Review of Environmental Resources 30

Glasbergen, P., Bierman, F., Mol, A. (eds) (2007) Partnerships, Governance and Sustainable Development: Reflections on Theory and Practice Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Griggs, D., Stafford-Smith, M., Gaffney, O., Rockström, J., Öhman, M.C., Shyamsundar, P., Steffen, W., Glaser, G., Kanie, N., & Noble, N., (2013) Policy: Sustainable development goals for people and planet, Nature 495 pp. 305-307

Jorgensen, M.W., Phillips, L.J. (2002) Discourse Analysis as Theory and Method. SAGE

Keeley, J., Scoones, I. (2003) Understanding Environmental Policy Processes: Cases from Africa Earthscan, London.
Kütting, G. and Lipschutz, R. (Eds.) (2009) Environmental Governance: Power and Knowledge in a Local-Global World. Routledge, London.
Lange, P., Driessen, P.J., Sauer, A., Bornemann, B., Burger, P. (2013) Governing Towards Sustainability¿Conceptualizing Modes of Governance, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 15(3), p403-425

Leach, M., I. Scoones and A. Stirling (2010). Dynamic Sustainabilities: Technology, Environment, Social Justice, Earthscan. London

Lemos, M. and Agrawal, A. (2006). Environmental governance. Annual Review of Environmental Resources 31: 297-325

Loorbach, D., Frantzeskaki, F. & Avelino, F. (2017) Sustainability Transitions Research: Transforming Science and Practice for Societal Change, Annual Review of Environment and Resources 42 pp. 599-626

Meadowcroft, J., Langhelle, O., Ruud, A. (2012) Governance, Democracy and Sustainable Development: Moving Beyond the Impasse. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Ostrom, E. (1990) Governing the Commons: The evolution of institutions for collective action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Peet, R., Robbins, P. & Watts, M. (2011) Global Political Ecology. New York: Routledge

Robbins, P. (2012) Political Ecology: A critical introduction (2nd edition) Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell (read Part 1: 1 Political versus Apolitical Ecologies (p11))

Rotmans, J. & Loorbach, D. (2009) Complexity and Transition Management, Journal of Industrial Ecology 13 (2) pp. 184-196

Wunder, S. (2015) Revisiting the concept of payments for environmental services, Ecological Economics 117: 234-243

Young, O. R. (2002). "Evaluating the success of international environmental regimes: where are we now?" Global Environmental Change 12(1): 73-77
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course creates space for students to develop their skills in confidently articulating complex ideas and insights on environmental governance and policy. These skills are developed through class debates and discussions, group presentations, and engaging in peer feedback. Professional skills in writing for different audiences will be developed through the assignments where both an academic paper and a blog post will be written. Through fieldtrips and guest lectures, students will be exposed to practitioners, their organisations and work, thus providing employability orientation and increasing their professional network. Personal skills in working independently, planning time successfully and working in groups will be developed through class activities and the assignments. Confidence in speaking in public, listening to others' views, reflecting on personal views and providing feedback to others will be encouraged through group exercises, debates and peer feedback.
Course organiserDr Clare Barnes
Tel: (0131 6)50 2287
Course secretaryMrs Lynn Taylor
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