(Un)sustainable Amsterdam


Course Objective

(a) Subject-specific learning outcomes

By the end of this course, the student has
• Academic knowledge and understanding of central concepts of national
constitutional and administrative law.
• Academic knowledge and understanding of central concepts of European
law; internal market law and harmonization; state aid law; company law;
environmental law.
• Academic knowledge and understanding of central concepts of tort law,
company law and tax law.
• Academic knowledge and understanding of the relation between
international, European and national law.
• Academic knowledge and understanding of cross-cutting doctrinal issues
(public and private law): standing, causation and enforcement; the
underdetermined character of law, legal interpretation and application
as lawmaking; courts as political actors; strategic litigation.
• An understanding of the influence of scientific, political, economic
and ethical discourses on law.
(b) Academic learning outcomes
By the end of this course, the student is able to
• Analyze current, climate-change related problems in their relation to
multiple legal fields, and develop legal solutions to these problems.
• Process legal sources from different jurisdictions and legal fields
for the purpose of developing legal solutions to current, climate-change
related problems.
• Complete research tasks relating to the legal dimension of climate
change in a methodically sound form.

(c) Social and communication learning outcomes
By the end of this course, the student is able to
• Complete research tasks in collaboration with other students;
rationally organize the team’s collaborative process, identifying an
appropriate way of collaboration (e.g. dividing the tasks) and taking
the different skills and backgrounds of the team members into
• Communicate findings and opinions relating to the legal dimension of
climate change in a scientifically substantiated manner, and adapt to
the specific (e.g. cultural or educational) background of different

(d) Study skills and professional orientation
By the end of this course, the student is able to
• Reflect on one’s personal role as well as that of legal professionals
in the context of climate change.

Course Content

Greenhouse-gas emitting activities - i.e., fossil fuel use for heating,
energy production and transport as well as intensive agriculture –
impair their local surroundings by contributing to climate change;
however, they cause significant damage also in other, more direct ways.
For example, pollutants emitted by cars and airplanes cause considerable
damage to the respiratory system, endanger vulnerable groups such as
children and the elderly, and drive up healthcare expenditure. Intensive
agriculture harms the health of the local population in various ways,
and also damages the local ecosystem, which can significantly damage the
local economy. Climate change is therefore both a global and an
intensely local concern.
Such comprehensive view of the local dimension of climate change has
potentially significant political and legal implications: to mitigate
climate change, the socio-economic system must be fundamentally
transformed within a short timeframe. Political support for the
necessary, radical reforms can usually be rallied easier if they also
address important local problems. Moreover, local regulatory systems
usually provide much stronger individual rights and far more effective
enforcement mechanisms than the international framework on climate
change does. Consequently, local regulation provides a potentially
powerful pathway to combat greenhouse gas emissions.
The course explores this local dimension of climate change, taking
Amsterdam and its surroundings as its local starting point. It looks at
the multiple ways local norms relate to climate change, and analyzes how
they could be – or already are – mobilized by non-state actors to
pursue, directly or indirectly, climate-change related objectives. The
course is built around a number of case studies that illustrate this
proposition in regard to different areas of law, such as company,
administrative and tax law.

Teaching Methods

Seminars (Attendance is mandatory)

Method of Assessment


General Information

Course Code R_UnSt
Credits 6 EC
Period P5
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator prof. dr. J.M. Harte
Examiner I.C. Ciobanasu LLM
Teaching Staff

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture