Societal Transition and Transformation - Energy and Climate Change (MEE100)
This course introduces various theoretical perspectives, critical approaches, as well as societal contexts and conditions for transitions and transformations related to energy and climate change.
Students will learn more about the various societal challenges associated with climate change mitigation and adaptation and the different, and sometimes competing, political strategies involved in the low-carbon transition.
This course enables students to envision and critically assess the ways in which transitions and transformations toward just and sustainable futures can take place.
Course description for study year 2023-2024. Please note that changes may occur.
This course takes its point of departure in two international, general agreements related to sustainability and climate change, both adopted by the United Nations: the Paris Agreement from the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The course subsequently explores different approaches to the transition to a low carbon society and envisioned transformations related to the energy system therein.
We will discuss different energy and climate related challenges in current and historical contexts of energy systems and socio-technical as well as regulatory regimes, capitalist developments, globalisation processes, anthropocentrism, environmental and governance policy and more.
Furthermore, the course traces the historical development of transition studies as well as relevant political, cultural, social, discursive, and socio-technical changes and challenges. The course also discusses contemporary issues and key debates within these fields of research.
A principal aim of the course is to introduce students to a broad body of research related to societal transitions and transformations in the context of sustainability, energy systems, climate change, and action. In this, we will work with various analytical tools to understand and critically assess the conditions for various low-carbon pathways and energy transformations.
It is expected that the students after completing the course will have the following knowledge, skills, and general competencies:
Students who successfully complete the course will have:
Knowledge about the social, political, cultural, and discursive challenges associated with the transition to a low carbon society.
A basic understanding of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate change, and environmental policies and governance.
Knowledge about the energy challenges associated with the Paris Agreement.
Knowledge about various mitigation and adaptation strategies related to the energy system.
Knowledge about different energy and climate related scenarios and competing visions of the low-carbon future.
Knowledge about the relationship between energy and climate change.
Advanced knowledge of transition and transformation theories, and the multi-level perspective.
Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:
Apply the theoretical approaches of transition and transformation theories on various contextual energy technologies.
Assess local, historical, political, social, and cultural conditions for an energy transformation.
Formulate and communicate problems and dilemmas associated with low-carbon transitions and sustainability.
Contribute to discussions and project management in analysing problems and challenges related to societal transitions and transformations.
After the course, students are expected to be able to:
Independently use the knowledge and skills in analysis of energy and environmental problems and challenges.
To critically reflect on the conditions for and the likelihood of the realization of various low carbon strategies and energy transformations.
Analyse, critically assess, evaluate, and develop different energy and climate change-related policy measures.
Analyse, critically assess, and evaluate different transformative approaches, theories, and pathways to sustainability and energy transitions.
Required prerequisite knowledge
Form of assessment
Assignment: an individually written paper (3000-4000 words) on a given task. Submission-date will be announced at the start of the course. Students on Master in Energy, Environment and Society shall submit all work in English. Students on a Norwegian program may choose to submit in English or a Scandinavian language.
One student assignment
The course requires active participation, and students will have to pass two compulsory assignments during the semester in order to qualify for the final exam.
1) Group work and presentation. This includes group-work with 3-8 students.
2) One individually written draft for term paper to be handed in mid semester. Students will be expected to engage in peer feedback.
These assignments help students to discover the meaning in the teaching material and are also preparatory work for the final exam. As part of this, the student also acts as an intellectual sparring partner for fellow students.
These compulsory assignments will be evaluated according to Approved/ Not approved. Failure to pass these compulsory assignments will disqualify the student from taking the final exam.
Group work, discussions, lectures, student presentations, written assignment, and term paper.
The course consists of weekly sessions. These sessions will include lectures, group work, and student presentations. All students are expected to read the syllabus and participate in group discussions and thereby develop analytic reflections in a productive environment with fellow students. This will be done on campus and the course-coordinator will facilitate a digital learning platform (Canvas). The working language for this course is English. Any changes to the curriculum will be announced on Canvas.
There must be an early dialogue between the course coordinator, the student representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital course evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.