Skip to main content

Green Politics in Theory and Practice

Module titleGreen Politics in Theory and Practice
Module codePOC2114
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Professor Clare Saunders (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module will provide you with the theoretical and practical knowledge to understand politics of the environment. The module will familiarize you with the following aspects of green politics: green political thought, major environmental discourses, policy tools, country positions and key actors. A simulation exercise will encourage you to learn about the complexity of global environmental policy-making. Overall, the module enables you to reflect creatively and critically on the barriers and opportunities for developing pro-environmental policies on a sustained basis. Through its mixture of seminars, workshops and simulation activities, the module also allows you to develop your verbal and written work and analytical skills.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Environmental issues have become a major concern in both developed and developing countries. Environmental problems are closely related to and interact with developments at the national and global level. In this module, you will examine the history, ideals, goals, organisation, and key actors of environmental policy making in Britain and beyond. You will be familiarised with various competing national regulatory philosophies and look into political, economic and civil-societal approaches towards environmental regulation and protection. The implicit comparative perspective taken in this module will sensitise you to the challenges of generating effective international environmental policies. This will be further illuminated through a UN environmental conference simulation, which, in addition to  helping you understand the opportunities and constraints for effective worldwide environmental policy, will enhance your skills in negotiating – a key employability skill. On this course, you will also analyse the changing role of green parties, grassroots organisations, academic experts and regulatory agencies in environmental policy-making. The module will combine theoretical approaches with case studies of major episodes and controversies in policy areas such as badger culling, pesticide use and climate change.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate good knowledge of environmental politics and engagement with major theoretical debates through discussions in seminars, written work and a simulation.
  • 2. Apply your knowledge of a country case by negotiating a country’s environmental position in a simulation and writing reflectively about it afterwards.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Assimilate taught materials and utilize them effectively to analyse environmental politics using key theoretical arguments
  • 4. Collect secondary material and use it to understand a particular case study

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Research and write a critical essay
  • 6. Communicate complex arguments and negotiate

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:


An introduction to green political thought

The social construction of environmental issues

The science-policy nexus

The challenges of managing the commons

Sustainable development

The policy tool-box

Environmental policy-making in Britain

Environmental policy-making in the EU

UN environmental conferences / country positions

UN environment conference simulation

Environmental movements

Green Parties

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching2211 x 2 hour Seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching3Simulation 1 x 3 hours
Guided independent study45Reading to prepare for seminars
Guided independent study30Preparation and writing of essay
Guided independent study25Preparation of country position for simulation negotiation
Guided independent study25Writing reflective report on the simulation process and outcomes


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation on an assigned reading15 minutes1,3,6Verbal
Draft position statement for negotiations1 page of bullet-pointed comments2,4,5Verbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written essay502,000 words1,3,5Written (individual) and verbal (generic)
Reflective write-up of simulation503,000 words2,4,6Written (individual) and verbal (generic)


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written essayEssay, 2,000-words1,3,5Summer reassessment period
Reflective write-up of simulation (UN environmental policy-making discussion paper)Report based on secondary sources,3,000-words2,4,6Summer reassessment period


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:


N. Carter (2007) The Politics of the Environment: Ideas, Activism, Policy, Cambridge University Press (2nd edition).

A. Dobson (2007) Green Political Thought, Routledge (4th edition).

A. Jordan (2002) The Europeanization of British Environmental Policy, Palgrave.

A. Jordan and A. Lenschow (eds) (2008) Innovation in Environmental Policy: Integrating the Environment for Sustainability, Edward Elgar.

C. Knill and D. Liefferink (2007) Environmental Politics in the European Union: Policy-making, Implementation and Patterns of Multi-level Governance, ManchesterUniversity Press.

J. Connelly, G. Smith, D. Benson and C. Saunders (2012) Politics and the Environment, Routledge.

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Environment, green politics

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date