Climate Policy

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

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 has the following main themes:

  1. International climate negotiations
  2. Fairness and climate change
  3. EU climate policy
  4. US climate policy
  5. Chinese climate policy
  6. Non-state actors in the climate policy field
  7. Public opinion about climate change

Learning Outcomes


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, the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme, and the US Inflation Reduction Act
  • how and why climate policies differ across major emitting countries, including domestic opportunities and constraints


After completing the course, the student can

  • present and explain key events and institutions 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

General competencies

After completing the course, the student can

  • use their insights to contribute to public discussions about climate policies
  • analyse the pros and cons of different climate policy proposals
  • locate information about climate change negotiations and national climate policies

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
  • AORG108 (10 ECTS)
  • GOV109 (10 ECTS)
  • AORG109 (10 ECTS)
  • Access to the Course
    Open to all students at the University of Bergen
    Teaching and learning methods
    Lectures (10) and seminars.
    Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
    1. Three online quizzes. One quiz is assigned for each of the months of February, March, and April. Each quiz is available at the beginning of the given month and must be finished before the end of that month. It is mandatory to get a full (100%) score on all the three quizzes by the deadlines set. There is no limit to the number of attempts.
    Forms of Assessment

    4 hour school exam

    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.

    Grading Scale
    Graded A-F  
    Assessment Semester

    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 after 1. August.

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