Energy Policy

10: International Cooperation on Climate


About this Lesson

We spend the majority of this semester focused on US and subnational US energy and climate policy considerations. But, there's a lot going on beyond our borders, and it will be beneficial to you to at least have a broadly-scoped understanding of this. Rather than try to consolidate the myriad energy policies of other countries into a lesson, let's focus our attention on international collaboration to address our climate change challenges. I think studying these efforts provides a good overview of how participating nations view climate change overall, and that offers a sneak peak into the types of energy policies they may employ to reach desired goals.

In this lesson, we're going to look at the history of international climate negotiations, with consideration to the political and economic realities shaping (and being shaped by) these discussions. We're going to examine the process how that past several meetings have played out and continue our discussion of the more landmark of these recent meetings, COP21 in Paris, 2015.

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • understand the complexities associated with developing and implementing an international climate change agreement;
  • articulate the tensions between scales of governance for climate action and how these factors influences decision-making.

What is due this week?

This lesson will take us one week to complete. Please refer to the Calendar in Canvas for specific assignments, time frames and due dates.


If you have questions, please feel free to post them to the "Have a question about the lesson?" discussion forum in Canvas. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help a classmate.