UCL Faculty of Laws


Law and Policy of Climate Change (LAWS0210)

This course focuses on international and EU law and policy on climate change at different levels of governance (international, EU, domestic).

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Climate change raises significant social, environmental and legal challenges. The governance system applying to climate change is complex and multi-level.

This course will examine the development of international climate change law and policy since 1989. It will explore the key EU governance approaches to climate change, especially the emissions trading system, and some of the difficult legal and policy decisions in different sectors.

Module syllabus

This module is subject to change.

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

  • Climate change science for policy
  • The UK Climate Change Act
  • The International Legal Framework
  • Paris, common but differentiated responsibilities and climate change justice for developing countries
  • Market mechanisms: from the clean development mechanism and Joint Implementation to beyond Paris
  • The EU and climate change, including an introduction to the Emissions Trading System
  • The multi-level climate governance of international aviation and/or shipping

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

Key information

Module details
Credit value:15 credits (7.5 ECTS, 150 learning hours)
Convenor:Steven Vaughan
Other Teachers:None
Teaching Delivery:10 x 2-hour weekly seminars, Term Two
Who may enrol:Any UCL Master’s student
Must not be taken with:None
Qualifying module for:LLM in Environmental Law and Policy
Practice Assessment:Opportunity for feedback on one optional practice essay
Final Assessment:Exam (100%)