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This is the study programme for 2020/2021.


This course looks at the interdependence of energy and environmental policy from a comparative perspective. Environmental impacts differ depending on the energy source and energy system, which is why different policies have to be employed to mitigate impact. The course will look at the implementation of such policies across geographic and socio-economic contexts, i.e. in developed countries, natural resource abundant developed countries, transitioning economies and developing countries. A comparative perspective will hence be employed on the policy challenges associated with governing the energy transition and with mitigating related environmental impacts. Additionally, the course will discuss the politics and policies of environment and energy at different levels of governance, i.e. the local, regional and national level, taking into consideration the international level.

Learning outcome

It is expected that students, on completion of this course, will have the following knowledge, skills and general competencies:
In terms of knowledge, a well-performing student will be able to:
  • distinguish different energy systems and their institutional embedding
  • describe energy systems in terms of their environmental impact
  • compare environmental and energy policies in Norway and in a number of European and non-European countries in terms of their ability to mitigate impacts
  • review and evaluate the range and substance of political and policy issues related to environmental and energy politics and policy
  • assess challenges related to a transition towards renewables

In terms of skills, a well-performing student will be able to:
  • communicate effectively the linkages between energy systems and environmental impacts
  • critically assess and compare the various challenges with regard to energy production and environmental impact
  • organize knowledge from the course in a coherent comparative analysis that leads to well-justified conclusions
  • provide constructive feedback in the context of peer reviews

In terms of general competencies, a student should be able to
  • communicate effectively and discuss environmental problems associated with today's energy systems, and formulate and communicate effectively challenges associated with bringing energy systems in alignment with the environment
  • apply concepts and theories related to the subject of the course
  • communicate the knowledge gained during the course, and apply it to other contexts
  • make effective oral and written presentations
  • build on increased capacity for independent learning

Contents

Energy represents the universal currency of our planet (Smil, 2017): The development of technologies to extract and exploit fossil forms of primary energy enabled to greatly expand the limits of economic activity, thus leading to growth rates and a level of productivity unseen before the second half of the 19th century. However, many of the environmental problems we face today can be traced back to energy production and use. Hence, if the impact of our energy systems on the environment cannot be mitigated, it is likely that seemingly unlimited growth will further expand the economy towards its biophysical limits (Hall and Klittgard, 2012), thereby compromising the integrity of the earth's ecosystem(s).
This course will look at the interdependence of energy and environmental policy from a comparative perspective. Environmental impacts differ depending on the energy source and energy system, which is why different policies have to be employed to mitigate impact. The course will analyze the implementation of environmental policies across geographic and socio-economic contexts, i.e. in developed countries, energy resource abundant developed countries, transitioning economies and developing countries. A comparative perspective will hence be employed on the policy challenges associated with governing the energy transition and with mitigating related environmental impacts. Additionally, the course will discuss the politics and policies of environment and energy at different levels of governance, i.e. the local, regional and national level, taking into consideration the international level.
By taking a comparative approach, the environmental impacts of different energy systems independent of the particular country context, as well as the effectiveness of policy instruments across contexts, can be discussed.
Throughout the semester, students will work in small groups on a comparative research paper. Apart from this assignment, a presentation on the group topic will also be assessed. The third form of assessment will be a written exam.

Required prerequisite knowledge

None.

Exam

Written exam and group paper
Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written exam1/23 hoursA - FDictionary.
Group paper1/2 A - F
There should be a fair distribution of workload between the students in the group assignments. If there are significant deviations in contributions, this can lead to a deduction in the grade for the less performing students.

Course teacher(s)

Course teacher
Thomas Michael Sattich , Oluf Langhelle
Course coordinator
Bettina Bluemling

Method of work

  • Lectures
  • Discussions
  • Student assignments (group work, presentations, written assignments)
  • Guest speakers

It is expected that the students give an oral group presentation related to the group paper.

Open to

Energy, Environment and Society - masterstudium
Exchange programme at Faculty of Social Sciences

Course assessment

Student evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the Faculty of Social Science evaluation system.

Literature

Literatur will be published as soon as it has been prepared by the course coordinator/teacher


This is the study programme for 2020/2021.

Sist oppdatert: 27.09.2020