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Course Description

Green globe on moss

This course examines environmental politics and governance in Canada as well as in comparative and international contexts. This is accomplished by surveying how various political, legal, administrative, and private-public actors and processes influence the development and implementation of environmental policy.

Note: This course can be taken individually or as a part of a certificate program.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  • Recognize and describe the major theoretical and policy frameworks that have been used in the study of environmental politics and governance.
  • Analyze the relationships between the politics of environmental science, the politics of global environmental governance, and the domestic politics of environmental policy formulation and regulation.
  • Evaluate the relative strengths and limitations of different policy instruments and governance frameworks, including regulatory instruments, economic instruments and participatory models of environmental governance.
  • Discuss the use of market instruments in reducing emissions and vulnerability to climate change, the role of cities and other non-state actors in global climate governance, and the politics of new social movements.
  • Demonstrate skills in team building, group-based research, online presentations, proposal writing, research, writing and critical analysis in the study of environmental politics and governance.

Course Topics

  • Environmental Politics and Governance
  • Beyond the Limits? Understanding Processes of Environmental Change
  • Sustainable Development: Exploring the Contradictions
  • The Politics of Environmental Science
  • Defending the Earth System: How Radical is too Radical?
  •  Administrative Rationalism: The Politics of Command and Control
  • The Miracle of the Market? The Role of Economic Instruments in Environmental Policy
  • Power to the People?  Public Participation and the Politics of Environmental Governance
  • Global Governance and the Politics of Climate Change
  • Finding a Low Carbon Future: The Politics of Sustainable Energy
  • A Renewable Resource? The Politics of Water Resource Governance in Canada

Additional Requirements

Prerequisite(s): 7.50 credits


Assessment Item Weight
Issue-Based Group Discussions (3) 15%
Case-Based Group Discussions (3) 10%
Quizzes (3 x 5%) 15%
Environmental Policy Analysis 30%
Take-Home Exam 30%
Total 100%

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.

Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Environmental Politics and Governance
May 09, 2024 to August 02, 2024
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Domestic Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $683.39 Click here to get more information
Domestic Tuition Fee - Non-Ontario (0.5 units) $745.75 Click here to get more information
International Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $3,379.57 Click here to get more information
Available for Credit
0.5 units
Reading List / Textbook
Note: Both textbooks may be purchased as a package from the University of Guelph Bookstore. ISBN: 9780190167370
Section Notes

Note:  If you are in a degree program at the University of Guelph, please DO NOT register using the link above.  You must register through WebAdvisor.

Section Materials
  • Textbook (Unconfirmed) (Mandatory) The Politics of the Earth by John S. Dryzek © 2021 Oxford University Press 4th edition ISBN eBook (180-day): 9780192592637
  • Textbook (Unconfirmed) (Mandatory) Canadian Environmental Policy and Politics by Debra L. VanNijnatten © 2016 Oxford University Press 4th edition ISBN eBook (180-day): 9780199005437
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