Climate Change Law


Course Objective

The course analyzes climate change as a transnational legal phenomenon.
Students will learn to work across different legal fields (ranging from
international and human rights law to private and economic law) and
different jurisdictions (including international, European, national and
local regulation), and to handle legal questions in the context of
complex economic, political, social and ethical debates. Students will
be encouraged to participate in the course of the lectures, with the
goal of developing the sort of critical and analytical skills conducive
to the practice of transnational law, and to understanding transnational
global developments.

Course Content

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues the world faces in the
21st century. It is also a particularly complex and interesting problem
from a legal perspective: this is because climate change affects
multiple jurisdictions (from the international to the local level),
numerous areas of law (ranging from international to private law) and
multiple actors (ranging from governments and international
organizations to multinational businesses, NGOs and private citizens).
Moreover, complex scientific, economic, political, social and ethical
questions feed into the legal processes.

Analyzing the interaction of different legal fields:
Greenhouse gases originate from a broad range of activities, including
energy production, industry and transport to agriculture. These are
regulated in, or otherwhise affected by, numerous fields of law, such as
international law, European and national economic law, private law,
environmental law, international trade and investment law and human
rights law. Tackling climate change therefore requires understanding how
these various legal fields interact.

Analyzing how different jurisdictions interact:
Climate change is a transnational phenomenon, having local causes, but
creating global effects: consequently, the problem must be addressed at
the same time at a global scale, by regional organizations (such as the
EU), at the national and at the regional level (e.g. cities). The course
will look at how these different jurisdictions interact.

Understanding the role of different legal actors:
Climate change is not only a concern for national governments and
international organizations. The European Union, as a regional
organization, has long been an important actor in this field; moreover,
non-state actors play an important role as well: multinational
businesses, NGOs and private citizens aim to influence the regulatory
process, most notably by bringing lawsuits. The course will analyze the
activities of these different actors.

Understanding the context of climate change law:
Climate change has complex scientific, economic, political, social and
ethical dimensions: for example, given that the emission of greenhouse
gases is related to many different business sectors, a transition
towards a low-carbon society will likely transform the existing economy
in significant ways. This will inevitably create „losers“ along the way
(e.g. coal and oil companies), who may aim to slow down the transition,
thereby posing difficult economic and political questions. Or, to give
another example, as greenhouse gas emissions are related to consumption,
they are mainly attributable to the wealthy parts of the global
population; however, climate change disproportionately affects poor
populations in developing countries, and therefore raises complex
ethical issues. In this course, we will study how scientific, economic,
political, social and ethical questions feed into the legal process.

The course will cover:
Part 1: the science, economics and politics of climate change;
Part 2: Climate change as a global issue; the international climate
change regime (e.g. Paris Agreement), international law, human rights
law and international trade and investment law;
Part 3: European and national legislation (e.g. Emissions Trading
Part 4: Lawyering for change (e.g. lawsuits against governments and
businesses in the US and in Europe)

Teaching Methods

Lectures, in-classroom research tasks, guest lectures, home assignments,
group research project

Method of Assessment

Small written and oral assignments throughout the course and a final
written assignment.


The literature will be announced on Canvas.

Target Audience

Apart from regular students, the course is also available for:
Students from other universities/faculties
Exchange students
Contractor (students who pay for one course)

Additional Information

The following course objectives are only available in Dutch:

Eindtermen bachelor Rechtsgeleerdheid

De afgestudeerde bachelor beschikt over een fundamenteel academisch
werk- en denkniveau;
-heeft kennis van en inzicht in de kernleerstukken van de
hoofdonderdelen van het geldende recht (in het bijzonder het Nederlandse
privaatrecht, staatsrecht, bestuursrecht, strafrecht en internationaal
en Europees recht), alsmede de systematiek daarvan, met inbegrip van
recente ontwikkelingen
-heeft kennis van en inzicht in het internationale en het Europese recht
in hun verhouding tot het nationale recht
-heeft elementaire kennis van Engelse juridische terminologie
-beseft dat het recht zich ontwikkelt en manifesteert in een
maatschappelijke context
-heeft kennis van de grondslagen van het (Nederlandse) recht,
rechtshistorische en rechtsfilosofische aspecten en heeft besef van de
eigen aard van de rechtsbeoefening

De afgestudeerde bachelor beschikt over de volgende (juridische)
Analytische vaardigheden
-lezen, begrijpen en analyseren van juridische, rechtswetenschappelijke
en rechtstheoretische teksten en betogen, waaronder jurisprudentie en
-kritisch reflecteren op regelgeving, rechtspraak en literatuur, onder
meer vanuit rechtshistorisch, rechtsvergelijkend en rechtsfilosofisch
perspectief; is in staat om te reflecteren op de grenzen van het
-reflecteren op de eigen maatschappelijke verantwoordelijkheid in de
maatschappelijke context waarin het recht functioneert
-is in staat om juridische argumentatiestructuren te analyseren en op te

Probleemoplossende vaardigheden
-selecteren van juridisch relevante feiten uit een feitencomplex
-selecteren van rechtsregels die bijdragen aan het oplossen van een
juridische casus
-oplossen van juridische casus, waaronder begrepen hanteren van een
systematische aanpak bij het toepassen van rechtsregels op concrete

Communicatieve vaardigheden
-een gefundeerde en beargumenteerde positie innemen in een
maatschappelijk, juridisch debat

-op een efficiënte manier juridische bronnen raadplegen en informatie
verzamelen uit juridische (digitale) bibliotheken en databestanden, en
de waarde, relevantie en kwaliteit van de informatie beoordelen
-op efficiënte wijze relevante ontwikkelingen bijhouden en kennis

General Information

Course Code R_TL-TP
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator C. Kaupa
Examiner C. Kaupa
Teaching Staff C. Kaupa

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: