LAWSG181 Law and Policy of Climate Change

Credit value: 30 credits (15 ECTS, 300 learning hours)
Convenor: Maria Lee
Other Teachers: Steven Vaughan
Teaching Delivery: 20 x 2-hour weekly seminars, 10 seminars per term, Term One and Two
Who may enrol: Any UCL Master’s student
Prerequisites: None
Must not be taken with: None
Qualifying module for: LLM in Energy Law;
LLM in Environmental Law and Policy
Introductory video Currently there is no introductory video for this module
Practice Assessment: Opportunity for feedback on one optional practice essay per term (two in total)
Final Assessment: One 3-hour unseen written examination (100%)
Module Overview
Module summary:

Climate change raises significant social, environmental and legal challenges. The governance system applying to climate change is complex and multi-level. This course focuses on international and EU law and policy on climate change, discussing also the UK as an example of a domestic system. It will examine the development of international climate change law and policy since 1989, paying particular attention to the rules, institutions and procedures established pursuant to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and its 1997 Kyoto Protocol, as well as the Paris Climate Change Agreement 2015. It will explore the key EU governance approaches to climate change, especially the emissions trading system (and its interactions with the international regimes) and the difficult legal and policy decisions in different sectors, such as renewable energy.

Module syllabus:

The precise issues taught will vary, but the following issues are likely to be included:

  • The problem of climate change
  • Climate Change Targets in International Law
  • The Paris Climate Change Agreement Governance Architecture
  • Common but Differentiated Responsibility and climate justice
  • Carbon Markets: From the Clean Development Mechanism to Paris and Beyond
  • International aviation and shipping
  • The UK Climate Change Act
  • The EU emissions trading scheme
  • Technological responses to climate change – Carbon Capture and Storage, Geoengineering, renewable energy
  • Climate Change, law and the courts
  • Adapting to Climate Change
Recommended materials:

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment. No single book takes the approach envisaged for this module. The convenor is happy to discuss reading if contacted by a student during the module.

Preliminary reading:

  • Maria Lee, EU Environmental Law, Governance and Decision-Making (Hart Publishing, 2014), Ch 6
  • Lavanya Rajamani ‘The 2015 Paris Agreement: Interplay Between Hard, Soft and Non-Obligation’ (2016) J Environmental 337-358