Transnational Environmental Law - 2231

Transnational Environmental Law
Class Term:
Fall Term 2022-2023
Catalog Number:


3 (3 Contact, 0 Field)
Graduation Requirements:
International / Comparative
"W" Writing
General Enrollment Course
Full Year Course:
Standard Courses

Grading Details

20% Class participation (including posts on a discussion board), 40% paper of maximum 5000 words to submit at the end of the semester,  20% 5 minute video recording uploaded in Panopto of presentation of the same topic of the paper to submit at midterm, 20% group work for one UN Model Simulation


Climate change is one of the most fundamental challenges ever to confront humanity. The United Nations climate change negotiations offer a historical opportunity to step up international action on climate change. Over the last forty years discussions of international environmental law and policy have grown in number and frequency, and treaties addressing the topic have become common. Many of the treaties contain concepts that have now become accepted as commonplace, such as the ecosystem approach and the precautionary principle. The early beginnings of the subject can be found in bilateral and multilateral efforts to protect shared and jointly exploited natural resources like fur seals and fisheries, but now the subject of international environmental law and policy has grown into a complex code of treaties and other instruments that impose obligations on states to protect their own environments as well as to refrain from causing extra-territorial environmental harm. This course examines the basic objectives, principles, techniques, and content of international environmental law and policy and how international environmental law is related with core areas. It starts by examining the main environmental challenges and root causes, and then looks at the role that the global economic system plays in creating and perpetuating the problems. Once a foundation for understanding the genesis of the issues has been laid, global challenges are analysed. More specifically, the intersection between international environmental law and policy, international environmental negotiations and the following fields will be analysed: Climate Change, Energy, Trade, Human Rights, Water, Intellectual Property Rights, Biodiversity, Food Security, Traditional Knowledge, and Climate Justice. The course will conclude with reflections on the future of international environmental law and on how to meaningfully address global challenges. In addition, the course intends to present in an inclusive way the different perspectives on sustainable development, climate change, the protection of the environment and biodiversity from both the North and the Global South with classes and case studies dedicated not only to U.S, Europe and the other Western countries and Western categories, but also to China, India, Latin American, Africa, Middle East, South East Asia.  At the end of the course, students will be expected to know the basic principles and issues of international environmental law and policy.

International Environmental Law