Environmental science, Law, Public policy

Course date

30 June - 6 July, 2008
Application deadline
15 February, 2008
Course Director(s): 

Thomas Heller

Stanford University, United States of America
Course Faculty: 

Bert Metz

Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (MNP/RIVM), Bilthoven, Netherlands

Ferenc Toth

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria

Diana Urge-Vorsatz

Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Course Manager: 

Borbala Varga

Center for Policy Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
The course faculty members are among the roughly 2,000 scientists and policy experts from around the world who have made contributions to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, the former vice president of the US.

Recent years have witnessed a proliferation of international legal regimes and related efforts to manage sustainability issues that reach beyond national borders. From the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species to the Law of the Sea to the Montreal Protocol the ambition and scope of international environmental regimes has grown. However, the greatest challenge to the continuing record of transnational environmental management is now recognized to lie in the problem of climate change. Following the drafting and ratification of the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, it has become problematic to assert that the path laid out in these multilateral regimes clearly defines the way towards their stated objectives.

The purpose of this course is to understand why the current impasse in the negotiations and implementation of climate change measures has occurred and explore the various options proposed to escape from this situation. In so doing, we will examine carefully the detailed, transparent records compiled in recent years in this field to explore the developing roles of non-state organizations (non-profits, industry groups, the scientific community); the comparative strengths and weaknesses of national, regional and multilateral institutions in the design and implementation of environmental regimes; and the character of international negotiation processes and analytical methods used therein. In addition, we will explore in this particular context the meanings of emerging legal doctrines of international public environmental law, such as the right to sustainable development, the polluter pays and precautionary principles, the common heritage of mankind, and the common but differentiated responsibilities of nations.