Climate Policy



Mål og innhald

Human-induced climate change is a defining political challenge of our time. With the Industrial Revolution, humans have been able to enjoy unprecedented wealth, health, and longevity, but the ecological effects of industrialization are also massively negative. The challenge is now to transition from an economy based on fossil fuel extraction and land exploitation, to an economy based on renewable energy and with zero net greenhouse gas emissions. How such a transition is to take place involves political leaders, public administration, business, and civil society, and thus constitutes a fundamentally political question.

This course will introduce the students to key empirical and theoretical work on the policies that have been proposed, agreed, and implemented to tackle human-induced global warming. Emphasis is put on international developments and key emitting countries such as China, the US, and the European Union. The course also discusses the politics of climate change, including social movements, institutions, theories of international fairness, and public opinion.

Student engagement is expected throughout the course. Students will be expected to take part in lectures and seminars by responding to questions online, writing short in-class papers, discussing in pairs, giving feedback on the work of other students, and other forms of interactive learning.



After completing the course, the student has knowledge of

  • the largest global sources of greenhouse gas emissions and the principal policies intended to reduce them
  • key developments in the international political response to climate change, including key years, meetings, organizations, and agreements
  • the main concepts and scholarly debates related to major existing climate policies, specifically the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement, and the European Union´s Emissions Trading Scheme
  • how and why climate policies differ across major emitting countries, including domestic opportunities and constraints
  • important theories of fairness in relation to climate change
  • the main non-governmental actors influencing the development of climate policy


After completing the course, the student can

  • account for and present key events, institutions, and actors in international climate policy
  • explain the rationale and function of the main national and international policy measures to curb emissions
  • compare the climate policies of two major emitting countries
  • explain different theories of fairness related to climate change

General competencies

After completing the course, the student can

  • use their insights to contribute to public discussions about climate policies
  • write argumentative texts discussing different climate policy options

Studiepoeng, omfang


Studienivå (studiesyklus)



Krav til forkunnskapar
  • AORG108 (10 ECTS)
  • GOV108 (10 ECTS)
  • AORG109 (15 ECTS)
  • Krav til studierett
    Open to all students at the University of Bergen
    Arbeids- og undervisningsformer
    Lectures, student writing, seminars, and peer feedback.
    Obligatorisk undervisningsaktivitet

    Online quizzes: The online quizzes may be taken as many times as necessary,  but all answers must be correct within the set deadlines to pass the compulsory assignment. 

    Peer feedback: Each student must give written feedback on the draft midterm and draft final essay of two other students. 

    The compulsory assignments must be approved in order to take the exam. Approved compulsory assignments are valid in the current and following two semesters.


    The exam consists of two parts. It is necessary to get a passing grade for both elements to pass the course and receive one final grade.

    • Mid-term essay, 1500 words (+/- 10%, excluding the title page, table of content, references, tables, and attachments) This part counts for 40 % of the final grade.
    • Final essay, 3500 words (+/- 10%, excluding the title page, table of content, references, tables, and attachments) This part counts for 60 % of the final grade.

    The exam will be given in the language in which the course is taught. The exam answer can be submitted in English, Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish. 

    Graded A-F  

    Assessment in teaching semester

    A retake exam is arranged for students with valid absence according to § 5-5 in the UiB regulations.

    If there is a retake exam, this will be available for students with the follow results/absences:

    • Medical certificate/valid absence
    • Interruption during the exam
    • Fail/failed

    If you have the right to take a retake exam and a retake exam is arranged for students with valid absences, you can sign up yourself in Studentweb after1. August.

    The reading list will be ready before 1 July for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester. 
    All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.
    The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.  
    Administrativt ansvarleg
    The Department of Government at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.