Available in 2018
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


This course will provide students with advanced and specialized knowledge of the evolution and architecture of the international climate regime, including the 1992 United National Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1997 Kyoto Protocol, 2009 Copenhagen Accord and 2015 Paris Agreement. Special attention will be paid to the new framework for international collaboration under the 2015 Paris Agreement. The course will also critically assess Environmental Economics theory and its application to climate change policy. A special focus will be put on the use of market-based policy approaches such as environmental taxes and emissions trading. Based on the law and economics background, students will examine and evaluate differing approaches to domestic implementation of international obligations on climate change through case studies on Australian, EU and North American efforts at carbon pricing. Students will also be exposed to a range of controversial debates, reflecting the highly politicised nature of international Climate Change law, and learn about the political barriers to sustainable climate policy.

Availability2018 Course Timetables

WebLearn GradSchool

  • Trimester 3 - 2018

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate advanced understanding and knowledge of the legal principles, rules and institutions of the international climate change regime.

2. Demonstrate an informed and critical understanding of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

3. Demonstrate a reflective understanding of the significance of notions of intergenerational justice, sustainability and the common but differentiated responsibility principle within the international Climate Change Regime.

4. Evaluate policy options and make policy recommendations in relation to mitigation, adaptation, climate finance and/or technology.

5. Understand the political barriers to market-based climate policy.

6. Appropriately communicate the findings of their analysis to a non-specialist audience.

7. Work individually and as an integral part of a `virtual' team.


The topics in this course include:

1. Introduction to Climate Change Science.

2. Evolution and architecture of the International Climate Change Regime.

3. A new paradigm of international cooperation: The Paris Agreement.

4.  Climate Change Litigation.

5.  How Markets Function and Fail: The Theory of Externalities.

6.  What Prices can do to Save the Global Climate: The Standard-Price-Approach.

7.  Designing Sustainable Carbon Markets.

8.  Why Politics Resist Markets: The Political Economy of Market-based Climate Policy.

9.  Case Study: Climate Law and Policy in Australia.

10. Case Study: Climate Law and Policy in the EU.

11. Case Study: Climate Policy in the US.

12. The Political Economy of Carbon Pricing: A cross-country comparison.

Assumed knowledge


Assessment items

Quiz: Quizzes

Participation: Contributions to Online Discussion Forum

Written Assignment: Policy Brief

Contact hours

WebLearn GradSchool

Self-Directed Learning

Online 36 hour(s) per Term Full Term